Author Topic: Shikantaza and complacency?  (Read 1724 times)

Offline ZenFred

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Shikantaza and complacency?
« on: April 03, 2014, 07:51:34 pm »
I hope everyone is well and having a healthy and fruitful practice. My practice is not doing so well.  ;D

Perhaps it because I am father of a one week old, a full time graduate student at the height of my program, and I don't sleep at night. But I think it is more than just that and it becomes too easy to not sit zazen. I think the perspective of Shikantaza of understanding our already fully present/realized Buddha nature and that just the act of practice itself is enlightenment can lead to less than proper diligence. Perhaps it is my shortcomings not that of the practice and I do think if I "just sat" that would itself be my practice. Yet, based on discussions I have had here it seems most of agree that we have Buddha nature/universal mind, the key is realizing it and this requires some effort and doing on our part.

Thoughts?

Namaste  :namaste:



Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Shikantaza and complacency?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 08:29:18 pm »
Relaxed, yes ... Complacent, no.

Offline NoEssentialNature

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Re: Shikantaza and complacency?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014, 07:48:42 pm »
Never a more important time to practice:

Hatthaka Sutta, To Hatthaka    (On Sleeping Well in the Cold Forest)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.034.than.html

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Shikantaza and complacency?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 05:36:04 am »
Hahaha... very cool sutra. I resisted the urge to tell my wife that I would be less fraught with worry and sleep deprived if I was homeless in the winter than having kids in a warm house.  :ishift:   On a slightly serious note, though, seeing how I already have a family and children, it is a very zen practice to accept things just as they are (2 am bottle feedings and all) and to embrace and be present with my family obligations and relationships, rather than seeing them as obstacles to my expectations of unhindered practice.  Even monks find things to bicker and worry about. Expectations are toxic to marriage I think, since they will also be ultimately unmet (dukha).

Doesn't mean i can't put my foot down with having no more kids beyond two if I ever hope to have any quiet moments to meditate!!

Offline wandersage

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Re: Shikantaza and complacency?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2014, 04:10:12 pm »
Shikantaza is a pretty advanced practice generally done after you've already been able to establish some stable deep states of awareness.  Do you study with a teacher?  The point of practice is to get to a place of complete non-doing non-thinking, non-effort, however there is often a lot of stuff to do before you can really do nothing.  the first step is pretty much always some kind of concentration practice (focusing on your breath, chanting a mantra ,etc. depending on your tradition and teacher).  I'd say try to focus more on those kinds of exercises for the moment unless you have a teacher that can deepen your practice, because you really do need a teacher with whom you have a relationship with to get into the deepest aspects of meditation.

Offline NoEssentialNature

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Re: Shikantaza and complacency?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2014, 04:10:58 pm »
The point of practice is to get to a place of complete non-doing non-thinking, non-effort

Is it?

Offline Vishvavajra

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Re: Shikantaza and complacency?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2015, 04:28:33 pm »
I can sympathize. I'm trying to finish a PhD and deal with health problems and getting older. Lots of temptation to skip meditation practice. But there's never been a time when I needed it more.

It's true that "just sitting" or silent illumination is an advanced method that should probably be entered into under the guidance of a teacher. Our local teacher suggests meditation on the breath (placing one's awareness at the tip of the nose to feel it going in and out) to most beginners. In any case, he stresses the importance of having a clear method to stick to when wandering thoughts and distractions arise. The "just sitting" method is more profound but also more nebulous, so it's hard for someone who hasn't developed good concentration using more concrete methods.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that meditation can properly be described as "effortless." It's hard work--so hard in fact that most people who try it don't stick with it. And the use of a method means that there is some kind of concentrated, intentional activity going on; the meditator isn't just vegging out, despite the physical relaxation. Sure, ultimately there is no self that is doing it, but that doesn't mean nothing is being done. I think if we make it sound too easy or natural, it will just discourage people who try it and experience out how difficult it is, as they think their difficulties are unusual or that they're somehow defective.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 05:21:48 pm by Vishvavajra »

 


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