Author Topic: Bodhidharma's teaching  (Read 1541 times)

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2016, 08:19:55 am »
Hi Pixie,

I don’t know about anyone else, but for my part, although I’ve got lots of advice and opinions, and I enjoy writing and talking about meditation, I couldn’t deal with being a teacher. It takes way more patience than I have.

There are some, like you mention, who make a career out of it, which lets them devote themselves to practice more than they might have in some other endeavor. They write books, talk, get their name out and begin to attract attention. The more attention they get the more people assume they know something.

I’ve been very fortunate. I started early, trained with some great teachers and had a career that allowed time to devote to meditation.

Now I see my teacher everywhere. In everyone, including you.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2016, 08:33:07 am »
Vincent,

Actually, from what I understand, frequent ejaculation is more healthy for the prostate, and the body in general, than abstinence. Also, studies have shown that men who do not have intimate contact with a partner are less happy and do not live as long.

There’s plenty of opportunity for self-denial in controlling greed anger and ignorance and cultivating generosity, humility and wisdom, without blocking natural impulses that are both human and healthy -- in particular loving and being loved.

But all that stuff is secondary to sitting meditation practice. Bodhidharma spent nine years in silent meditation in China. That’s after he’d already received the seal of enlightenment from his teacher in India and was quite old. The Buddha is almost always pictured sitting in meditation. Why is that?

Nirvana is not off some place in the future or after you die. It is not apart from this body and this life. Nirvana can contain all of it, pleasant and unpleasant, without being defiled in the least. I wouldn’t waste time.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Pixie

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2016, 12:26:57 pm »

There are some, like you mention, who make a career out of it, which lets them devote themselves to practice more than they might have in some other endeavor. They write books, talk, get their name out and begin to attract attention. The more attention they get the more people assume they know something.



 Brad Warner runs Dogen Sangha in L.A. amongst other things, and was authorised to teach by his own teacher Gudō Wafu Nishijima.

http://www.dogensanghalosangeles.org/

There's also Treeleaf Soto Zen Sangha on the internet, which is run by Soto Zen teacher Jundo Cohen (who lives in Japan).

http://www.treeleaf.org/

and there's Zen Forum International, where there are several Zen teachers who will answer questions in their "Ask a Teacher" section.

http://www.zenforuminternational.org/index.php?sid=bb21480e265475c71dbe94ece9f0d260
.
I hope those links will be of some use to people looking in who want to know more about Zen Buddhism from genuine Zen teachers.....and these people all emphasise the importance of meditation, of course.

Quote from: zafrogzen
Now I see my teacher everywhere. In everyone, including you.


Sure dude, there's a  well known saying in Mahayana/Vajrayana "All beings are our teachers".

 :om:
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 01:34:40 pm by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2016, 06:02:10 pm »
Vincent,

Actually, from what I understand, frequent ejaculation is more healthy for the prostate, and the body in general, than abstinence. Also, studies have shown that men who do not have intimate contact with a partner are less happy and do not live as long.



Zafrogzen,

I couldn't help laughing at the absurdity of such a claim. :teehee: It's the first I've heard of it, so of course I did an internet search to find out the details of such a study.

The first article I came across appeared to be making the counter claim that frequent ejaculation did not necessarily increase the risk of prostate cancer.
http://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/news/20040406/frequent-ejaculation-prostate

"Frequent ejaculation, whether it happens during sexual intercourse, masturbation, or a dream, isn't likely to increase men's risk of prostate cancer. In fact, new research suggests it may have the opposite effect and help protect the prostate."

I next checked Google Scholar to search for the original scientific papers relating to this study, and came across the following pdf article.
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/198487

Here's the Context:

"Sexual activity has been hypothesized to play a role in the development of prostate cancer, but epidemiological data are virtually limited to case-control studies, which may be prone to bias because recall among individuals with prostate cancer could be distorted as a consequence of prostate malignancy or ongoing therapy."

And here's the conclusion in this study:

"Our results suggest that ejaculation frequency is not related to increased risk of prostate cancer."

It should be quite clear to anyone who has even a basic understanding of the scientific method, that any serious study of the relationship between prostate cancer and the frequency of ejaculation should include communities of monks who are supposed to be celibate and who are therefore the most obvious candidates for such a study.

So I did another internet search for such studies, and came across the following article in relation to the general health of the monks at Mount Athos, Greece, which also included their rates of prostate cancer.

http://globalphilosophy.blogspot.com.au/2008/03/half-vegan-monks-who-are-worlds.html

Here's the relevant extract:

"Despite their average venerable age, the 2,000 monks living in 20 ancient monasteries have virtually no heart disease, no cardiac arrests and no strokes, a zero-incidence of Alzheimer’s disease which astonished the researchers conducting the various studies, and unusually low rates of cancer, which in the case of prostate cancer is 4 times lower than the international average. The latter finding is even more remarkable when you know that the monks in that particular investigation were aged between 50 and 104. Their rates of lung, bowel and bladder cancer are zero."

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Also, studies have shown that men who do not have intimate contact with a partner are less happy and do not live as long.


I imagine such studies would have difficulty in separating the many complexities of cause and effect. For example, it might be the case that a particular medical condition, whether psychological or physical, is actually the cause an isolated life-style, unhappiness and a shorter life, in which case the solution would be to address the real cause, and not the symptoms.

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There’s plenty of opportunity for self-denial in controlling greed anger and ignorance and cultivating generosity, humility and wisdom, without blocking natural impulses that are both human and healthy -- in particular loving and being loved.


I've noticed, Zafrogzen, that you often use words like 'repression', and now 'blocking', which have negative associations.
Sexual abstinence has to be voluntary. If a monk feels that sexual abstinence is unbearable, and beyond his capabilities, he's allowed to disrobe and satisy his urges. Perhaps later he might have second thoughts, or experience some sort of revelation about his misbehaviour, and re-ordain.

The relevant question in  this context might be, 'Is it likely that a person who has successfully freed himself from the dictates of that most powerful force called the 'sexual drive', will also more successfully be able to control greed, anger, hatred and so on, and also more successfully be able to cultivate generosity, humility and wisdom?'

An obvious way to make it easier to learn to control one's sexual urges is to place oneself in an environment away from the temptations of alluring women. Having successfully achieved total control of ones desires, one should not necessarily need to continue being separate from the opposite sex. I believe Mahatma Gandhi would sometimes test his self-control by sleeping with a young lady.

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Nirvana is not off some place in the future or after you die. It is not apart from this body and this life. Nirvana can contain all of it, pleasant and unpleasant, without being defiled in the least. I wouldn’t waste time.


Of course. I've never imagined that Nirvana is a 'place'. I imagine it to be a completely peaceful 'state of mind', completely free of all thoughts, desires, cravings, and in particular, free of all sexual thoughts and desires.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2016, 10:58:19 pm »
Vincent,

The first prostate study I read in a daily newspaper I was writing for in the seventies. The second series of studies on intimacy I've seen references to several times over the years, either in newspapers or online. One also said that men in particular suffer when their mate dies. Recently I've seen some studies that indicate that having lots of contact with others socially is conducive to healthy longevity (the internet didn't count). Studies in general can often be contradictory or skewed by initial bias.

I'm not sure the health benefits of being a monk is the result of celibacy. Numerous studies have come out that say meditation has health benefits, but there are also some who think they're overblown. The percentages are key.

So how long have you been celibate?

I was in my late twenties when I practiced it -- after a year of only having solo sex occasionally while doing hath yoga (amazing what a young, healthy, flexible body can do.) Eventually I managed to give that up too.

It's not that hard after a few months (pun intended). It's like a fire, when the fuel is taken away, eventually even the spark goes out. Of course, I had the good fortune to be living in a beautiful, remote natural environment, where I wasn't always seeing young babes in tight pants.

After a couple years of celibacy a goddess visited me in a dream. Incredible! Almost worth waiting for. Then a real woman found me.

Anyway, I think you overestimate it's importance, but you'll have to decide that for yourself. Like you say sex is definitely powerful. Whether it's good or bad depends.

My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2016, 11:24:47 pm »
Dear Pixie,

I've outlived all of my teachers. Those you mention are fine, but they're younger and less experienced.

Teachers are great, especially in the beginning, or if you can find one that is a little further along the path, but they can't do it for you. I think most folks spend too much time reading and listening to others, without seriously practicing meditation on their own.

Just because it's a well know saying doesn't mean it's not worth practicing. There's also a saying that when someone is acting like an enemy, to view them as your student -- but I find it more productive to view them as a teacher.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2016, 07:19:42 am »
Vincent,

The first prostate study I read in a daily newspaper I was writing for in the seventies. The second series of studies on intimacy I've seen references to several times over the years, either in newspapers or online. One also said that men in particular suffer when their mate dies. Recently I've seen some studies that indicate that having lots of contact with others socially is conducive to healthy longevity (the internet didn't count). Studies in general can often be contradictory or skewed by initial bias.

I'm not sure the health benefits of being a monk is the result of celibacy. Numerous studies have come out that say meditation has health benefits, but there are also some who think they're overblown. The percentages are key.


Zafrogzen,
Perhaps as a result of modern medicine with drugs that often target a specific problem in a quick and efficient manner, there's a tendency to search for single specific causes for specific problems.

The reality, in my view, is that a healthy lifestyle consists of numerous interacting factors. It's far too simplistic to attribute just one factor to one's health, such as a specific food or herb, or the state of celibacy, or the practice of meditation.
In fact, I've read that Buddhist-style meditation practices can actually cause harm to some people who have certain psychological problems. But this issue is beyond my expertise.

Another example is the Theravada Buddhist practice of eating just one meal a day before noon. It's probably healthier than the customary 3 meals a day enjoyed by most people. On the other hand, if that one meal per day consists of crap food, such as white rice and non-organic, pesticide-covered food, the benefits of one meal per day are reduced.

This is why I'm attracted to the slightly heretical Santi Asoke movement in Thailand where the monks assist in growing their own organic food. They don't rely upon charity, refuse all donations, and get their funds from selling healthy, organically grown food at a bargain price in the local markets,

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So how long have you been celibate?

I haven't been keeping a diary recording the precise periods, and this is the problem with studies that rely upon self-reporting. People tend not to report precise facts.

I've been celibate for a great number of periods of varying lengths throughout my life. I'm currently in a period of celibacy, partly due to a renewed interest in Buddhism, and partly, I suspect, because of my increasing age with its natural reduction of the intensity of the sexual urge. Okay!

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2016, 11:24:32 am »
Ha, ha, I wouldn't worry about heresy. Buddhism, and religion in general, is a bit of a free-for-all in this era of globalization, despite attempts (even here) to enforce some sort of orthodoxy. As a lifelong iconoclast I think it's healthy.

I've settled on two meals a day with an occasionally short fast. I like thinking that sex is especially healthy, but I suspect you're right, that celibacy is also just as healthy and more so than its opposite -- promiscuity.

I've read that some people have had bad effects from meditation, but it is usually from jumping in too quickly, doing a 7 or 10 day intensive without working up to it. I think it's a little like taking a strong psychedelic drug -- some people who are prone to mental problems might get tipped over. I meditate a lot in my old age, as much as any monastic, but I've worked up to it over decades. I can't express how grateful I am to have done so.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2016, 01:32:39 am »
Ha, ha, I wouldn't worry about heresy. Buddhism, and religion in general, is a bit of a free-for-all in this era of globalization, despite attempts (even here) to enforce some sort of orthodoxy. As a lifelong iconoclast I think it's healthy.

I'm definitely not worried about heresy. My interest in Buddhism was renewed a few years ago when I came across the Kalama Sutta for the first time. I was quite amazed that a religious teaching could advise a group of skeptics not to accept something as true merely because it was mentioned in the scriptures, or because an authority or teacher claimed it was true, but to examine the words of the wise and work out for oneself if their advice could be beneficial for oneself and others.

This is an approach that has always appealed to me.

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I've settled on two meals a day with an occasionally short fast. I like thinking that sex is especially healthy, but I suspect you're right, that celibacy is also just as healthy and more so than its opposite -- promiscuity.

There's a lot of emerging evidence on the increased health benefits of serious fasting, not just short fasts. Apparently, when the body is freed from the chores of digesting food, it can begin fixing its own problems, and 'nip any problems in the bud', so to speak.

As I understand, a serious fast for 5 or 6 or 7 days, taking water only, can renew one's immune system. The body will consume all the defunct, damaged and inactive white blood cells (as a substitute for food), then, after one resumes eating, the body will replace those consumed cells with fully functioning new cells.

There are also theories that the body will create new brain cells (neurons) during prolonged periods of fasting, which is presumably the body's attempt to help the brain more easily notice food opportunities in the interests of its own survival.

If these benefits of fasting are true, they provide at least a partial explanation for Gautama's enlightenment. Prior to his night under the Bodhi tree, he'd fasted to such extreme levels that he realised if he were to continue fasting he would die, so he began to eat again and his other ascetic companions deserted him.

With a completely renewed immune system and a great increase in the number of brain cells, it's not difficult to imagine that some time after his period of extreme fasting, Gautama could have had some inspiring revelations that might not have been possible without those resulting health benefits flowing from his earlier period of fasting. Just my own theory.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2016, 09:33:57 am »
Yes, I agree that fasting is beneficial, although I think that, as with celibacy, you might be attributing more to it than it merits. There's a temptation to look for some external fix that will get us there without having to go within and really come to grips with this matter.

Gautama's enlightenment was a direct result of meditation, although as you say, his austerities may have set the stage for it. In my late twenties I did all of those austerities, including giving away everything and living on the street for a year and then retreating to a beautiful remote place to practice in relative seclusion for several years. But it wasn't until I'd meditated with sufficient focus that I actually begin to have some deep experiences of genuine insight. I always hesitate to say this, because it might discourage people, but for most of us it takes years of intense meditation to make much progress on the path to enlightenment. But even a little practice of meditation can have profound effects, so one shouldn't get discouraged by the enormity of what is involved. Do it now, time goes by quickly.

Here's something I wrote awhile back on fasting you might like -- http://www.frogzen.com/uncategorized/fasting/
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2016, 01:52:36 pm »
I read up on the Santi Asoke movement online. It sounds great except for their apparent neglect of meditation practice. I often forget that all Buddhism isn't just about meditation and that there are forms that don't emphasis meditation practice. i think that's regrettable, but not surprising.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2016, 04:34:24 pm »
Yes, I agree that fasting is beneficial, although I think that, as with celibacy, you might be attributing more to it than it merits. There's a temptation to look for some external fix that will get us there without having to go within and really come to grips with this matter.

Gautama's enlightenment was a direct result of meditation, although as you say, his austerities may have set the stage for it.


There is often a problem in determining the main cause of a particular effect in any complex system because everything is so interrelated. Whilst it is reasonable to presume that Gautama would never have reached his stage of enlightenment without applying specific meditation techniques, it might also be true that without the conditions of a renewed physical and mental system that developed after he ceased his period of extreme fasting, the enlightenment might never have resulted.

Wasn't Gautama also meditating during his period of extreme fasting?

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Here's something I wrote awhile back on fasting you might like -- http://www.frogzen.com/uncategorized/fasting/ 


That's an interesting and well-written article on fasting, Zafogzen. I share your experience that practicing short periods of fasting first is the way to go, and doing that gradually results in longer periods of fasting becoming easier.

However, I'm a bit concerned about the following statements from your writings.

"My fasts gradually became longer, until one summer, intent on going for two weeks with nothing but spring water, I was overcome with severe leg cramps on the twelfth day — to the point where I could barely stand. I learned later that my cramps were from a lack of salt and other minerals, brought on by walking the surrounding hills in the hot sun. I decided, henceforth, to be more moderate with fasting. I hadn’t noticed any additional benefit after three days and eventually the body will start consuming itself. Vital organs can fail. Longer fasts, of more than a week, are dangerous."

Doesn't spring water contain small amounts of salt and other minerals? People often get cramps without fasting at all, and the cause is often attributed to a lack of water.

If you got cramps during a fast, after walking in the surrounding hills in the hot sun, it sounds very much as though you were not drinking enough water. However, I confess I have never fasted for as long as 12 days. If I ever do try that, I might add a pinch of Himalayan Rock salt to each litre of my drinking water, just to be on the safe side.

I'm not sure one can generalise about the dangers of fasts that are longer than a week. There are many different individual circumstances that could make fasting dangerous. For example, it wouldn't be recommended for pregnant women, young children, underweight or anorexic people, and people on medication for certain types of medical problems.

However, a person who is normally healthy, not underweight, and even overweight which is now the norm, should be able to fast safely for up to 30 days, provided he doesn't stress himself with too much physical exercise and provided he drinks plenty of water. At least that's my understanding of the situation.


Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2016, 04:45:15 pm »
I read up on the Santi Asoke movement online. It sounds great except for their apparent neglect of meditation practice. I often forget that all Buddhism isn't just about meditation and that there are forms that don't emphasis meditation practice. i think that's regrettable, but not surprising.

Yes, that's an interesting distinction between Santi Asoke and the more traditional forms of Buddhism. However, I get the impression that Santi Asoke adherents claim that they do meditate, but with 'open eyes' whilst working, rather than with 'closed eyes' whilst sitting down, doing nothing.

From what I've read, for the Asoke group, every moment of the day is supposed to be meditation in the form of concentration (sati), consciousness and awareness of the surrounding world. Asoke members emphasise more the aspect of “concentration,” and thus their meditation is concentration in whatever they do whether it be eating, working or sleeping. Every action is carried out with careful concentration, which is their form of meditation.

They are very pragmatic and believe Nirvana is a state of mind achievable in this lifetime.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2016, 12:23:23 pm »
In zen meditation the eyes are kept open, relaxed and looking slightly downward.

I could get on my high horse, as some do here, and say that Santi Asoke isn’t real Buddhism the way Gautama taught. But to me that’s irrelevant. I can only comment based on my own experience.

Yes, that’s an ideal way to go about one’s life, although not so easy as it sounds, at least for me. I find that only regular, consistent sitting meditation makes it possible to practice that kind of mindfulness.

People often tell me they meditate while doing other stuff or while lying down or walking. I always say that I meditate those ways myself, or at least I try to, but I also practice zazen (sitting meditation) and it is just not the same.

Zazen eventually brings a whole new level of attention to those everyday activities, which I'm convinced would be very difficult to arrive at otherwise.

When I do something, like painting, I am that activity completely. There is no subject/object dualism, just total engagement in the activity of painting. There is just painting.

In zazen I eventually arrive at a place where I am empty of all such activity, where I am just myself, or emptiness, or True Mind -- whatever name is attached to it is inadequate. It is the “source” as Noritake Roshi says in the talk about Bodhidharma above. When that is experienced, it brings a whole new awareness to everyday activities. But don’t take my word for it.

I think it's too bad the Santi Asoke folks gave up on traditional meditation, because their lifestyle sounds like it would be very conducive to sitting meditation

Anyway, you’re into studies. Here some on meditation -- https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201309/20-scientific-reasons-start-meditating-today
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Bodhidharma's teaching
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2016, 07:23:25 pm »

People often tell me they meditate while doing other stuff or while lying down or walking. I always say that I meditate those ways myself, or at least I try to, but I also practice zazen (sitting meditation) and it is just not the same.


Ah! Zazen! Sitting still like a frog!  :wink1:

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I think it's too bad the Santi Asoke folks gave up on traditional meditation, because their lifestyle sounds like it would be very conducive to sitting meditation

Anyway, you’re into studies. Here some on meditation -- https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201309/20-scientific-reasons-start-meditating-today 

Thanks for that link to the benefits of 'sitting-still' meditation, Zafrogzen. However, I've never had any doubts that quieting the mind should have some health benefits. There are countless activities and practices that have been demonstrated to have specific health benefits, such as particular types of food and particular types of exercise, both physical and mental.

I like the analogy in your own article on fasting where you describe meditation as a kind of fasting for the mind. Just as stopping the intake of food for a few days gives the body a rest, which allows it to make certain adjustments in the interests of its own health, stopping or reducing the incessant turmoil of thoughts arising in the mind, gives the mind a rest which should in turn result in some health benefits.

However, I'm sure you would agree that to achieve the ultimate benefit along Buddhist lines, such as enlightenment or Nirvana, meditation alone will not be sufficient. There is the 8-Fold Path of right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Notice that right mindfulness and right concentration come last, but this doesn't mean that each division should be fully developed in the order they are presented in the list, before moving on to the next one. All the factors in the list are interrelated and could be practiced simultaneously, albeit in an imperfect, less-than-ideal manner, which would be the case for most people.

The main point I would make here is that the benefits of just one factor, such as sitting meditation, can be offset by a deficiency in the practice of one or more of the other factors.

For example, the US army has discovered the benefits of regular meditation. It reduces stress, improves concentration and allows the soldiers to do their job more efficiently. However, I doubt that any of those soldiers would reach a state of Nirvana, no matter how much they meditated, because, from a Buddhist perspective, they probably haven't developed the other factors of the 8-Fold Path, such as right aspiration, right action and right livelihood.

The Santi Asoke philosophy takes all of these factors mentioned in the 8-Fold Path into consideration. Any perceived deficiency in one factor, such as the amount of time spent doing nothing but meditating, is compensated for (if not more than compensated for) by the greater effort and honesty that they apply to the other factors.





 


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