Treeleaf Zen

Treeleaf Zen

Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (We’re All Beginners) IX

I am about to break a cardinal rule of ‘Soto Zen’ (not the first time): However, I hereby officially state that I do not think that the ‘Lotus’ Postures (although ideal if you can) are necessarily the best postures for most beginners … I suggest the Burmese …


… and for beginners, next the Half-Lotus (and the Full Lotus if one can manage), then the ‘Seiza Bench’ (I think many people sit this way because they have not given the other postures a sufficient chance)


meditation+position+seiza bench.jpg

And I view chair sitting as to be done only if truly necessary.

We will talk more about this tomorrow, and what to do with the rest of the body from head to toe.


Please see a video by my teacher, Nishijima Gudo Roshi, on how to sit in the Full Lotus posture, look HERE

(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)
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posted January 22, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Thank you for this video.
I am recovering from injuring my knees by forcing them into the half lotus repeatedly. Thus, I’m confined to a chair for a while.

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Bud Ha

posted January 23, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Nothing special. Sometimes I stand (keeps me from falling asleep) Sometimes I lay down on my right side with a nice zafu under my head. Sometimes I take a walk. Usually I sit in a nice recliner I have with a bench so I can put my feet up. Other times I sit in my desk chair. The old yoga lock (“full lotus”) was fine in my youth, I suppose it forced the blood to my head. But then what when I come out of the lock? “Stop meditating”? that seems a bit absurd. I don’t think “meditation” should be about sitting in some uncomfortable position or pain in the legs or assuming any particular form. Ha Ha Ha. Maybe it’s about Mind. Maybe not!

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posted January 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I know Masters have written different opinions and instructions on how to sit, meaning posture during zazen. I think a full Lotus is excruciating, and detracts from the meditation itself. I’m sure it’s beneficial for those who believe it is and those who are limber enough to do it. Even Thich Naht Hanh now uses a meditation bench and there aren’t many who would say he’s not a Zen Master.
I think it’s how you approach sitting that matters. Or not sitting. True zazen could take place washing dishes, walking, deep listening, lying down, etc, just like the person above posted. Imagine all those incapacitated who are not capable of sitting! I agree- it’s not about forcing your body into a position that hurts. It’s not about forcing anything at all. Isn’t it really about letting go?

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posted January 27, 2009 at 9:18 am

Thanks a lot for your teachings to all of us who can´t have them face to face.
Really grateful

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