City Cave Zen

meditation

by Dogo

pigeons perched on veranda railing of flat in housing scheme

In Zen practice, meditation is usually referred to as “sitting.” Some of us think we are unusual because of our practice, but we are not. Everybody sits, but most people do their sitting in front of a TV. We can either sit to distract ourselves from life, or we can sit with, and in, life.

#zen #buddhism #meditation #zazen #DogoGraham

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by Dogo

According to Lacan, the I which speaks and the I which is spoken of are not the same. The one observes and describes the other.

Zen practice reveals to us that we are not the I, the self, the aggregate of traits we describe and identify as “I” or “me.”

As we study the self, we may find we do not like, or even have much in common with, that self, the same way we experience some other people. Or we may like and relate to that self we are studying, the same way we experience some other people. But we are none of those people we can analyse and describe, including the self.

Who is the other I, the one that observes?

#zen #buddhism #JacquesLacan #meditation #DogoGraham

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by Dogo

One of the most common practices in Buddhist meditation, including Zen, is to simply pay attention to your breath. When you realise you have been distracted by a thought, you label it “Thinking,” then return your attention to the breath.

It is a useful practice, but I question the accuracy of the label. Using the word “thinking” suggests you are in control, doing something, producing the distracting thoughts. But, as practice goes on, you will find the thoughts are there whether you are actively thinking or not, and trying to stop thinking and quiet the mind is just one more activity to be distracted by.

What if you let the thoughts be, just allow them to make their noise, like the background noise in a public place, a chatter you hear but do not pay attention to? You will find that the correct label is not “Thinking,” but rather, “Thoughts.” The thoughts just happen, and they are not your concern, and so you notice they have distracted you, and you return to the breath.

#zen #meditation #zazen #shikantaza #ThoughtLabelling #buddhism #DogoGraham

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by Dogo

At today's sangha meeting, we discussed the dangers of judging our meditation, of thinking of it as something to fail at. How some people say, “I can't meditate,” when what they mean is that their meditation isn't what they think it should be.

It never is. And that's okay.

The only way you can do it wrong is by thinking you're doing it wrong. If you're meditating, then whatever your mind is doing — being focused, being distracted, happy, sad, angry, bored — is what it should be doing.

#zen #buddhism #meditation #mindfulness #DogoGraham

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by Dogo

Some people in the Buddhist world like to talk of “noble silence,” or, even, “Noble Silence.” Silence is neither noble nor ignoble; it's silence. If we try to make it more than it is, we make it less than it is, by imposing our small story on it, so we experience not the silence, but our ideas about the silence.

#zen #buddhism #mindfulness #meditation #DogoGraham

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by Dogo

Thank you, pillows. Thank you, mattress. Thank you, sheets. Thank you, duvets. Thank you, floor. Thank you, ceiling. Thank you, walls. Thank you, windows. Thank you, door. Thank you, electricity. Thank you, water. Thank you, neighbourhood. Thank you, city. Thank you, country.

Continue, with or without words.

#zen #buddhism #gratitude #mindfulness #meditation #animism #DogoGraham

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by Dogo

Yesterday's online sangha meeting went well. People in various time zones sat zazen together, then I gave a Dharma talk. I was impressed by the video and sound quality of Jitsi (it works better in the app than a browser). So we'll continue to meet on Sundays at 6 pm Scottish (UK) time. If you want to join us, let me know and I'll send you the link and the password.

Note to lurkers: there was at least one person yesterday who left their camera and microphone off. We're a sangha, not a sideshow, so that's unacceptable. From now on, anyone who's not visible will be bumped from the meeting.

#zen #buddhism #meditation #OnlineZenPractice #mindfulness #VirtualZendo #OnlineDharma #DogoGraham #jitsi

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by Dogo

Enough people have expressed interest in online Zen practice that I've decided to have a weekly sangha meeting by video. Our sangha has students in the US, the UK and Europe, so the meeting will start at 6 pm UK time, which is late morning or early afternoon US time, depending on which state you live in.

We'll begin and end with some chanting. We'll do 25 minutes of zazen (meditation), then I'll give a short Dharma talk and take questions. The whole meeting will last an hour. Please be online and on your cushion ten minutes before the starting time.

Most sanghas have been using Zoom, but it has poor security and it tracks you. So we'll use Jitsi. If you want to join us, let me know and I’ll send you a video link and a password, and a copy of the liturgy.

If you want dokusan, we can also do that by video, using either FaceTime (if you have an Apple device) or Signal. I won’t use Skype, for the same reason I won’t use Zoom.

#zen #buddhism #meditation #OnlineZenPractice #mindfulness #VirtualZendo #OnlineDharma #DogoGraham

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by Dogo

Most (or, I hope, all) Buddhist sanghas have moved their practice online because of the coronavirus pandemic. This has me thinking about doing interactive online Zen teaching, perhaps having dokusan by video. I'm still pondering, so if that's something you would be interested in, please let me know.

There's also the Zen for Real Life podcast, which currently has four talks by me, and one by Daishin. We'll be adding more soon.

#zen #buddhism #zenpodcast #DaishinStephenson #OnlineDharma #OnlineZen #VirtualZendo #mindfulness #meditation #DogoGraham

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by Dogo

In Western culture, we're encouraged to “make our mark.” We're told we should want to be remembered, and that it's bad to be forgotten.

What if, instead, we do the work of trying to make no mark, but instead try to help heal the marks and scars we find? What if we aim to be forgotten, and trust the results of what we do to exist without us?

#zen #buddhism #mindfulness #meditation #ego #humility #DogoGraham

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