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Mike Galante
12-18-2006, 01:43 PM
Hi, am new to the Forums, and wanted to say emphatically that Aikido in it's outer form is marital, in it's essence is transcendental. How can one expect to achieve the oneness that O Sensei seemed to have by just practicing dynamic technique? It is hard enough to sense this when sitting quietly. Sit Zazen ideally before class to achieve what our master had to offer!

All the Best,
Mike Galante

Dirk Hanss
12-18-2006, 03:13 PM
A few years ago I had a good aikido teacher. She quit Aikido, because her Zazen practice was so exhausting, that she could not combine both.

Well, I personally think, that it is not important, which type of meditation you do. Having some time before training to calm down and leave all your daily burden outside the dojo is very good.

And taking some more time to find your true way is helpful, too. Zazen, Seiza, Yoga, a simple quiet prayer or whatever you want. Nothing of them is the alone one , that is necessary. But you should choose (at least) one of them.

My 2 ct Dirk

mriehle
12-18-2006, 04:37 PM
Sit Zazen ideally before class to achieve what our master had to offer!

Okay, well, I'm a big fan of meditation. I'm not a big fan of zazen. There are a lot of different forms of meditation, Zen does not have a monopoly.

Mark Uttech
12-18-2006, 07:11 PM
Simple reflection every day in mindfulness is something that 'seems' easy to do, but it is only easy if you do it. Taking a bit of solitude every day will become your treasure.

In gassho

Mark

MikeLogan
12-19-2006, 06:47 AM
Zazen as a practice is not something you can pull off by sitting for 5 minutes before the start of class. This is more akin to 'quiet time' , and laying one's head on the desk in kindergarten. That doesn't make it bad. I would use the word 'ideally' to say that one should sit with a group in seated meditation before they can find significant effect from Zazen before class.

Aside from western prayer, I want to hear about other forms, Michael(Riehle) (don't want anyone thinking I'm talking to myself). Walking, and guided meditations are interesting once in a while.

But I agree, with the idea, Mike. At the very least if it doesn't impart whatever O Sensei found for himself in meditation, it will at least empty the brain pan and make the subsequent experience much more significant.

michael.

SeiserL
12-19-2006, 07:14 AM
Relaxation.
Concentration.
Meditation.
Transformation.
Integration.

While I have been a daily meditater for all my adult life, I agree that mental training (including meditation) is useful, I would not say its necessary.

Chuck Clark
12-19-2006, 09:37 AM
After zazen daily for around twenty years or so I only occasionally sit now. While engaging in both kata and randori (not aikikai style randori) in both judo and aikibudo for the last fifty years I, at some point, discovered that what I call "moving meditation" was better for me. I have experienced many meditators that sit and then turn it off when they stop sitting. Meditation, whether zazen or whatever is not necessary; it can be a start. What is really necessary from my experience is ATTENTION and AWARENESS at all times. When sense of self goes away and the attention and awareness continue it is then all action in the midst of all the "stuff." The feedback and continuously changing learning is immediate.

Safe, Peaceful, and Joyful Holidays to All,

Chuck Clark

mriehle
12-19-2006, 01:46 PM
Aside from western prayer, I want to hear about other forms, Michael(Riehle) (don't want anyone thinking I'm talking to myself). Walking, and guided meditations are interesting once in a while.

Well, you just nailed the two most significant forms.

Meditation, on some level, is nothing more than paying attention to one thing very closely. I have a particular fondness for guided visualizations because they can be used to set up a particular mood. What's more, in my experience, they can have the quality where the meditation can be interrupted and resumed without disturbance. It requires some practice, but I see this as important.

You can, actually, do this with any meditation form, but I find most people find it easiest with guided visualizations.

I've no use for meditation which requires that you leave the meditative state and start over again if you are interrupted.

But I agree, with the idea, Mike. At the very least if it doesn't impart whatever O Sensei found for himself in meditation, it will at least empty the brain pan and make the subsequent experience much more significant.

I don't like the "empty the brain pan" image. I prefer the image of cleaning out the cruft. It's similar, but not the same. At any time that you are thinking, there are thoughts which help and thoughts which are clutter. Sometimes just acknowleding and dealing with the clutter allows you to work on the stuff that matters.

mriehle
12-19-2006, 01:48 PM
Meditation, whether zazen or whatever is not necessary; it can be a start.

See, I'd say it is necessary because it is a start.

But, now that that hair is neatly split, I basically agree with what you had to say. :D

Chuck Clark
12-19-2006, 02:33 PM
See, I'd say it is necessary because it is a start.

The reason I don't think it's necessary is that I've experienced people that develop that awareness and attention (it's part of zanshin when done properly and then muga mushin can develop also) from proper budo practice without doing zazen or any other form of sitting meditation.

I do think formal sitting (or forms of yoga) meditation is a major way to develop the initial practice if the beginner has a guide/teacher that can pass on the real stuff rather than just the form.

A Safe, Peaceful, and Joyful Holiday Season to All,

Chuck Clark

mriehle
12-19-2006, 03:51 PM
The reason I don't think it's necessary is that I've experienced people that develop that awareness and attention (it's part of zanshin when done properly and then muga mushin can develop also) from proper budo practice without doing zazen or any other form of sitting meditation.

Okay, I'll buy that. I don't think it works for everyone and I do think some kind of quiet meditation is useful. But for some people meditation is movement and vice versa.

It's hard, in any case, to argue with success.

SeiserL
12-19-2006, 05:59 PM
I use a distinction that the down-time internally absorbed trance state in meditation/contemplation is different than the up-time externally focused trance state of awareness and attention.

But any form of mental discipline can be useful.

Janet Rosen
12-19-2006, 10:13 PM
I am capable of resting quietly and letting my brain wander, but I am not meditative at rest - I immediately want to Get Up and Do Something. Whereas moving meditation for me = weapons kata and sometimes empty hands training.
I do NOT think zazen is "necessary" for doing aikido. It is one of many available adjuncts that fall into the YMMV category.

Peter Goldsbury
12-20-2006, 03:16 AM
When I trained in the UK, I practised zazen on a regular basis for 90 minutes before class. At that time the zazen training was led by a zen master, so our training was directed. One of my early aikido teachers, who is now a Buddhist priest, also recommended us to practize zazen because he himself practised. However, he actually began to practise zazen because his postwar education in Japan had disposed him to reject the shintoist training that O Sensei practised (even though he was one of the Founder's deshi).

My teacher's father-in-law, however, eschewed zazen in favor of individual training (for example suburi training) with a sword, on the grounds that that kind of 'meditation' was more immediately productive and relevant to aikido training. He told me that O Sensei had said, 'Ken before zen" (not, of course, in those very words), but I do not think son and father-in-law ever agreed on this point.

When I came to Japan I stopped practising zazen because I could not find a good teacher, for I think serious zazen training requires a teacher.

Best wishes to all,

raul rodrigo
12-20-2006, 03:28 AM
As Chiba shihan put it:

To begin with, I would like to describe how I began Zen training which, in a passive way, was due to my teacher, Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. What I mean by a "passive way" is that he taught me the importance of spiritual discipline along with martial discipline. However, the system of spiritual discipline he followed was based on CHINKON-KISHIN (method of pacifying the soul and regaining or recovering the spirit) derived from ancient Shintoism and its extension - the study of Kototama doctrine (the miraculous power of language inherent within the Japanese alphabet)...

Although I was an uchideshi at the time, I found it extremely difficult to follow and I was unable to understand most of the words O-Sensei was using in his teaching. Shintoism was the spiritual backbone of his Aikido, and in order to understand his teachings, one had to understand the KOJIKl, which required extensive study. Unfortunately, I belonged to the generation whose education was strongly affected by the post-war policy carried out by G.H.Q. (General Headquarters of the Occupation Army), established in October of 1945 (1 entered Junior school in April, 1946), the central premise of which was the systematic denial of the Japanese culture, tradition and history. Thus, the myth and the world view represented by the KOJIKI was, for a time, denied as unscientific, an absurd superstition. This view was even widely supported by the post-war Japanese academic world. As for myself, being brought up and educated this way, I found the Founder's teachings not only difficult to follow, but also apparently nonsensical.

Nevertheless, the Founder always emphasized the importance of spiritual discipline ("religious faith", in his exact words) and the practice of farming along with martial discipline, if one wished to achieve one's goals. I had no problem with following the practice of farming and martial discipline (I still do both even up to today). However, I could not avoid the increasingly strong internal resistance that, as time went on, built up within me toward the Founder's spiritual discipline. I suffered from an internal split and feared the loss of unity between the physical art and spiritual discipline which was supposed to be the underlying principle of the art.

I started to look to Zen training as a substitute for the Founder's teaching. As I see it, it was a positive turning point in my Aikido life. However, I can't deny that it was an escape from the Founder.

Peter Goldsbury
12-20-2006, 04:54 AM
Hello Paul,

Good. You guessed who my teacher was. His father-in-law was M. Sekiya Sensei, who studied kenjutsu.

Best wishes,

Mike Galante
12-20-2006, 02:04 PM
I am happy to hear so many responses. There are so many paths to the same end. When I studied with Nakazono we sat zazen style, then practiced the Kotodama sounds for over an hour before our Aikido and weapons practice.
It is my conviction that the intensity of serious meditation is needed to achieve what O Sensei had. It is a state of enlightenment. My training for over 30 years was in Kotodama, Zen, and Kundalini.
Over and over the concept of emptiness is emphasized in many disciplines.
In the US, many typed of "spiritual practice" are sold to the public.
In my work, I have the opportunity to ask about all aspects of peoples lives and it is remarkable what people think is spiritual practice. I mean practice, not just experiences.
One person said that she sings when she cooks.
Another said that they fire walked one time in Sedona etc. etc.

It took Buddha years to achieve the enlightenment talked about.
Whether O sensei's enlightenment was that deep we don't know.

But what i am talking about is not the pleasant state of mind from practice, but a state of oneness with the universal. All i am saying is that practicing Aikido alone will not get you to that remarkable place.
O sensei said the stars and the moon and the earth are all mine. He was empty, he transcended himself. He said we need faith. Aikido is much much more than what most people think.
Most martial artists are attached to self defense and how to fight.
How many of us can say we have transcended this?
How many can say we can face death calmly?

Just trying to stir up the pot here. I love Aikido but sometimes I cannot listen to people talk about it without realizing that it is one of the rare physical activities designed to take one to enlightenment.
And that aint just singing while you cook.

MM
12-20-2006, 02:36 PM
... but a state of oneness with the universal. All i am saying is that practicing Aikido alone will not get you to that remarkable place.

and

I love Aikido but sometimes I cannot listen to people talk about it without realizing that it is one of the rare physical activities designed to take one to enlightenment.


Um ... can you explain that a bit more? It seems that those two statements contradict one another. Sort of confusing ...

Mark

saulofong
12-20-2006, 04:30 PM
There are different ways to practice Aikido. One of the ways is to practice in a what I call a meditative state, present in your body, paying attention to the sensations and to what is actually happening around you. Or, the other way is to practice wondering around, not paying attention to the movement, thinking about what are you going to have for dinner etc...

I am finding out that if you practice Aikido or live your life in the so called meditative state, you do not need to sit in Zazen everyday, but if you wish to do so, you will do it easily.

Just different ways to practice Aikido and to live your life. None better then the other, just different for different kind of people.

Best regards,

Fred Little
12-20-2006, 05:18 PM
It took Buddha years to achieve the enlightenment talked about.
Whether O sensei's enlightenment was that deep we don't know.



With all due respect, I think it's pretty clear that it wasn't.

FL

Qatana
12-20-2006, 07:59 PM
I practiced Sitting meditation every day for fifteen years and have attended several extended silent retreats. Since I started training I have became more stable, and better able to communicate, nore responsive in ways that continue to develop even when I do not Sit for weeks or months. Currently I am doing more sitting practice than I have been, however I do not see that one is necessary for the other.
I know plenty of lovely people who don't practice as a Spiritual exercise and they seem just as enlightened as those I know who use aikido specifically as a tool for self-transformation.

Mike Galante
12-21-2006, 11:21 PM
Hi Mark,
All i mean to say is that my teacher emphasized the practice of kototama sounds and Zazen and Aikido and weapons practice together.
With all due respect, unless one is born practically a saint, mindfullness won't cut the mustard for facing a lethal attack with calm mind and love in ones heart. Maintaining a peacefull mind is a prerequisite for allowing the spirit to take root in a person. Usheba said we are bringing heaven down to earth. A bridge if you will. Taking a fighting mind and leading it to peace.
Jo, how many enlightened people do you know?

Qatana
12-22-2006, 09:30 AM
Probably as many as you do. I never claimed to know any Enlightened Beings, I said the people I know who train for physical reasons seem no less enlightened that people I know who train for spiritual reasons.
However if one defines enlightenment as being free from internal burden,as always Present and exemplify impeccable behavior, I know several.

stan baker
12-27-2006, 06:46 PM
The question is what is zazen?

stan

Qatana
12-27-2006, 09:23 PM
Zen-style sitting meditation.

stan baker
12-28-2006, 08:37 AM
Hi jo,
who are these several people.

stan

Qatana
12-28-2006, 11:05 AM
Some are meditation teachers, some are aikido teachers and some are simply people who embody Love in everything they do.Enlightnement as defined as "A person who is light in their own Being, and/or who can shine a light for others to see by"
Which I just made up.

Kevin Leavitt
12-28-2006, 11:26 AM
I think enlightment is hard to define. That said, I know a few people myself that I look up to that seem to be much more enlightened than myself. These people I turn to for advice, guidance, and to serve as an example of how I want to be.

I don't beleive there is any test to determine who is enlightened and who is not. Some people may be enlightened in one area of life, but not in another as well.

Kevin Wilbanks
12-28-2006, 04:49 PM
Coming on here and telling everyone they need to do a specific type of meditation connected to a quasi-religious dogma that is not expressly connected to Aikido or they won't understand Aikido is ridiculous... especially considering the number of high level teachers/shihan who visit this board. This kind of arrogance and dogmatism is exactly why I have never had much use for strict zen, or at least what we get of it here in the west. I have no doubt that zen was a very useful way to achieve certain mental states and insights for those to whom it was an organic extension of their time and culture. Maybe some people from the contemporary industrialized west can get the same from it, but too often it seems like people get caught up in the exotic trappings and it becomes some kind of ego-adornment - something to make oneself feel like some kind of special insider that is superior to the unwashed, unenlightened, materialistic masses. For an antidote to this type of narrow approach to eastern thought, I recommend reading Alan Watts - he seems to get to the marrow and allow you to consider and even experience some of these insights without getting caught up in incidentals.

I have tried zazen and other forms of static meditation in the past and found that they weren't very useful to me. Either nothing was happening or whatever was happening was so slow that I'd have wasted half my life before I got anywhere. I have experienced states that fit various descriptions of what meditative methods purport to be their goal, even 'enlightenment(s)'. Sometimes these were drug experiences, but mostly they were working meditations.

The most interesting states for me come from sculpting, particularly prolonged welding, often in the midst of a sort of storm of vent fans, grinding, loud music, etc... I find what I call time dilation particularly interesting - time moves more slowly, and extremely deft, fast physical responses and actions become effortless. I begin to invent and self-learn at an astonishing rate. If I get in that zone for a while, I find it sometimes takes several minutes to an hour until I can talk to people without feeling like I'm somewhere else or sounding like a monosyllabic caveman. The linguistic communication parts of my brain seem to be shut down.

Long distance driving also has some interesting meditative qualities. Even certain, simple computer games lend themselves to meditative experience. Any kind of repetitive chore can have some of these properties, and many kinds of martial arts kata seem well-suited. In my view, the kinds of states and insights pointed to by various eastern religions and practices aren't really rare or special at all. They are available to anyone who is willing to let go of their assumptions and habits of overthinking and get really involved in something. The different paths of meditation and getting to enlightenment are nearly infinite because these activities and ways of being are natural and relatively normal to humans. It's only because we are so carefully and rigorously thought-conditioned by our culture and religions that it seems to be hard.

Mark Freeman
12-28-2006, 06:17 PM
Interesting post Kevin, thanks.

I only sporadically practice the Ki meditation I have been taught, and sometimes wonder if my aikido would be improved if I did it more often. As I have been steadily progressing since I started I haven't attached too much importance to it, maybe I should?

For me aikido is the most effective form of meditation, it is dynamic and just as beneficial as any sitting meditation you can come up with. With sitting, you may be able to reach some places that aikido doesn't get to, but with aikido, the mind and body, rather than the just the mind, are required to function in dynamic movement. For me, this is where the 'ki of heaven and the ki of earth' can be found. I've had enough 'glimpses' to know that it is there. Not that sitting doesn't give you a similar 'end result', but I find it hard on my old legs ;)

I find what I call time dilation particularly interesting - time moves more slowly, and extremely deft, fast physical responses and actions become effortless. I begin to invent and self-learn at an astonishing rate.

Aikido! :D

regards,

Mark
p.s. Happy New Year to all, I'm off skiing for the first time, so I'm going to be doing a lot of getting up off the ground, in the next week. Aikido! :D

Fred Little
12-28-2006, 08:56 PM
Kevin,

To be fair to the original poster, and to answer Stan's question precisely, "zazen" doesn't necessarily mean anything other than "seated meditation," a practice that can be found in a variety of Buddhist sects, Taoism, Confucian practice, Shinto, and some forms of contemplative Christianity.

I'm glad that you have found other methods that you find effective in reaching what you believe to be the goals of zazen, having found that practice not helpful.

Personally, I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all approach. If there were, the world would be a much less interesting place.

If you had settled for zazen, we might not have your sculptures, and that would be a damn shame.

FL

Kevin Wilbanks
12-28-2006, 09:33 PM
Thanks Fred,

My understanding is that zazen is actually a specific meditation technique connected to zen dogma. In addition to sitting in one of a very few specific postures, one is also instructed to focus on the sensation of breathing and keep a repetitive count of breaths, usually up to 10. If the mind wanders, one is supposed to return to counting at 1. Over time, the mind wanders less and the attention does not waver from counting and breathing, thus quieting what they call the "monkey mind". I know of several other types of meditation, which can be done while seated, which are not called zazen.

However, it could be that the term was being used more loosely than what I have encountered. My thought would be that in this case, they are misusing the term, but maybe an actual eastern religion/philosophy scholar will show up to clarify.

Fred Little
12-28-2006, 10:02 PM
However, it could be that the term was being used more loosely than what I have encountered. My thought would be that in this case, they are misusing the term, but maybe an actual eastern religion/philosophy scholar will show up to clarify.

Kevin,

While I am no great shakes as "an actual eastern religion/philosophy scholar" I did pass the doctoral qualifying exam for same at Columbia.

I'm no great Buddhist either, but I do practice in a tradition other than either Rinzai or Soto Zen. The "counting to 10" method is one of a number of introductory techniques found in Zen Buddhist meditation, but it has as much to do with full-bore meditation -- even in the Zen School -- as first grade block printing practice has to do with writing poetry.

Some sectarian Zen Buddhists would be pleased as punch to have a trademark on "zazen," and some people do use the term in a proprietary way. That's an unfortunate fact that leads to unfortunate confusion.

D.T. Suzuki was, from all accounts, a very sweet man, but he really cobbed up a couple of generations of scholars by his early emphasis on Zen Buddhism as central to understanding Japanese culture, and nobody pays attention to his late work on Pure Land, but that's another story.

Best,

FL

Kevin Wilbanks
12-28-2006, 11:10 PM
I see. I must have put too much stock in something I read at some point a long time ago - although I seem to remember getting that same line from several sources. I'm sure Suzuki was one of them. It makes sense that the meaning/reference of a key term like that would be a matter of controversy and dispute.

I was just thinking about what you said about the loss of my art to the world if I had become a zen monk. Putting aside the 'me' portion, that seems to speak to something about buddhism that never sat well with me. What if Beethoven, Michealangelo, Frank Lloyd Wright, or, I don't know, Mick Jagger, Joss Whedon... whoever's work has really floated your boat had decided to sit around in zazen all the time instead of doing whatever it is they did that enriched your life?

I recall Nietzsche dismissing buddhism as a philosophy/religion of a culture which was old, dried up, and mostly longing for extinction. I don't know if I would go that far, but I find the idea that alleviating suffering is the main goal in life a bit defeatist, in the same way that something in me rebels against the idea of spending a major portion of my life sitting still and meditating. I think I subscribe to the good life as something being a lot more torrential and Shakespearean than that... like the recipe includes Shakespeare by the cup and Buddha by the teaspoon.

Mike Galante
12-29-2006, 09:52 AM
I posted the original zazen comment.
Let me say that it is so difficult to talk about spiritual things. Words are so inadequate to begin with, but then consider that the individual words mean different things to different people. Consider these words:
zazen
enlightenment, enlightened being
oneness
emptiness
spiritual

What do they mean to you?

I have been cursed and reviled for saying what i did! Where's all the compassion out there? LOL

All I can say is when I lived with Sensei Nakazono we sat Zazen style for a good hour and then practiced Kototama sounds like he learned from O'Sensei. Then we practiced weapons and Aikido.

He was a student of the master. I am just relating how I was trained in 1970's.

What I got out of my Aikido training was that osensei had an enlightenment experience during which his spirit expanded considerably, which transformed him and his Aikido.

I am trying to stir up the pot which seems to be empty of the masters teaching. How many out there are practicing Kototama sounds?

Happy Holidays to all.

Mike Galante
12-29-2006, 10:05 AM
Kevin
As far as judging enlightenment, that has been the job of spiritual teachers. The problem is nowadays, everybody thinks they know something, just because they read it.

People should distinguish the intellectual thoughts and concepts from the actual expansion and rooting in the hara and spine, a real and organic flow.

In the beginning of meditative practice the imagination is quite active, all this mind activitiy is considered maya, or illusions. In fact, life itself is considered this.

HOw many times have you practiced and thought, am i really doing this Aikido correctly?

Kevin Wilbanks
12-29-2006, 01:12 PM
Cursed and reviled? 'Where's the compassion?' Sounds like some pretty high drama hyperbole coming from someone implying their own enlightenment and understanding in contrast to us benightened, confused, ordinary people.

I saw people, including myself, criticising what you said and disagreeing with it. I did not see any cursing, reviling, nor any surplus of or lack of compassion directed at you personally. I propose you added that for yourself. If you want people to respond more agreeably, I suggest toning down the whole "you guys don't know jack about Aikido" angle.

As for the rest, I simply don't buy into your set of assumptions or glossary of terms. Since you apparently made no attempt to understand anything I wrote, I feel no motivation to translate and try to bridge the gap.

Mike Galante
12-29-2006, 04:32 PM
Kevin, Please,
-It was a joke, did you see the LOL? (it means laugh out loud)
-What glossary? That was a list.
-I am not implying any enlightenment.
-I am specifically trying to provoke discussion. I am not attacking anyone. I am not interested, in this context, in toning down anything. This is, in my mind, too important to gloss over.

You want to know why?

Because that is how I was taught by Nakazono, who was taught by Usheba. Zazen, Kototama sounds, Aikido.

Because after 26 years off the mat, I just recently returned and it seems that there is still hardly a mention about the real essence of Aikido. In my humble opinion. It is like the emperors new clothes.

I admit, I can bee too critical at times, and for this I do apologize, I really don't wish to offend, just wake up!
Peace be with you Kevin

It is just so easy to misconstrue the written word. Much better in person, maybe we could talk sometime in person.

Qatana
12-29-2006, 05:20 PM
Maybe Nakazono Sensei advocated sitting zazen, but I think many of the rest of us have never been told by our teachers who were also direct students of O'Sensei htat sitting zazen was necessary for aikido.
In my dojo we do a practice that was taught to Bob Nadeau Sensei by O'Sensei directly. But neither Nadeau Sensei or my sensei have stated that it is Necessary to practice Energy work in order to do aikido well or properly.In fact most aikidoka probably think we're strange.

Aristeia
12-29-2006, 05:28 PM
Zazen, Kototama sounds, Aikido.
to most here these are three seperate, unrelated practices. The fact taht Ueshiba happened to do all three does not necessarily we have to any more than we have to wear the same clothes he did or drink his brand of coffee.

Kevin Wilbanks
12-29-2006, 10:20 PM
Kevin, Please,
-It was a joke, did you see the LOL? (it means laugh out loud)
-What glossary? That was a list.
-I am not implying any enlightenment.
-I am specifically trying to provoke discussion. I am not attacking anyone. I am not interested, in this context, in toning down anything. This is, in my mind, too important to gloss over.

You want to know why?

Because that is how I was taught by Nakazono, who was taught by Usheba. Zazen, Kototama sounds, Aikido.

Because after 26 years off the mat, I just recently returned and it seems that there is still hardly a mention about the real essence of Aikido. In my humble opinion. It is like the emperors new clothes.

I admit, I can bee too critical at times, and for this I do apologize, I really don't wish to offend, just wake up!
Peace be with you Kevin

It is just so easy to misconstrue the written word. Much better in person, maybe we could talk sometime in person.

I think you are seriously confused, being disingenous, or both. Claiming that you are "joking" as a way to deflect criticism, whilst simultaneously reaffirming how "important" your points are and how serious you are taking this isn't going to work. I am not offended, even though you just implied I lack awareness to the point of being asleep in the same sentence. I can't see why you would keep trying to make this about personal insult, unless it is just more in the way of dissimulation and intellectual dishonesty. It is clear to me that you are not trying to provoke a discussion, but instead deliver a lecture. The implication that you know best and we don't is unmistakable, and you have reiterated it repeatedly. I see no evidence that you are listening to what I or anyone else here is saying. I suggest you abandon the evangelism and look to your own awareness, enlightenment, and training... especially if you haven't trained for decades.

tedehara
12-30-2006, 02:40 AM
...Because after 26 years off the mat, I just recently returned and it seems that there is still hardly a mention about the real essence of Aikido. In my humble opinion. It is like the emperors new clothes...After 26 years you're like Rip Van Winkle, waking up. You'd be better off getting yourself acquainted with your new surroundings. ;)

People practice aikido techniques. How they practice is usually determined by their relationship to the various national organizations. Some groups do not practice weapons. Few groups practice any form of spiritual training. Even if a group practiced weapons and spiritual training, it might not be in the forms you are familiar with.

John Stevens wrote about kototama in his book Secrets of Aikido. Kototama also appeared in William Gleason's book, The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido. Nakazono's books about kototama are still in print due to the efforts of his former students in New Mexico. You can view their web site at Kototama Books (http://www.kototamabooks.com/).

So the topic is still alive in aikido, as is the desire by some to practice spiritual training. However if you simply declare your beliefs, it can be seen by others to be a challenge to their own beliefs and practices. Instead of starting a discussion, you'll start an argument.

You might want to check out the above books and maybe get in touch with Nakazono's former students. Nakazono Sensei was always interested in the founder's spiritual practices. This was an area that was generally ignored by most of the founder's other students. Because of your training with Nakazono Sensei, you could be able to contribute greatly to understanding the founder's spiritual training.

Aristeia
12-30-2006, 04:03 AM
The point being there are some groups that practice the way you want to. Don't assume that's the way everyone else wants to or even should train.

Kevin Wilbanks
12-30-2006, 01:57 PM
However if you simply declare your beliefs, it can be seen by others to be a challenge to their own beliefs and practices. Instead of starting a discussion, you'll start an argument.

Not necessarily. I think in an attempt to be diplomatic, you're adding to the dissimulation. Simple declaration would consist primarily of "I statements": 'I like to do Aikido this way', 'I got much more out of Aikido because I did it this way', even 'I think Aikido works better when you add x,y,z', etc... What the poster repeatedly said was not declarative, but accusatory. He did not just say what he believed, or what he liked, he said everyone else was doing it wrong, and that they should be doing something differently. It was not really a choice to see this as a challenge, as you are claiming here. Argument was inevitable.

stan baker
12-31-2006, 11:13 AM
I studied with nakazono acupuncture and aikido in the early 80's.His main point was principle rather then technique.

stan

tedehara
12-31-2006, 01:18 PM
Not necessarily. I think in an attempt to be diplomatic, you're adding to the dissimulation. I'm not being diplomatic, I'm being greedy. I would like to know what you think. I would like to know what he thinks. However I'm not going to learn anything if everyone spends their time telling each other to shut up!

Of course you can react immediately to what anyone posts on these threatds. typing out a quick reaction that speeks from the gut would give you a small ammount of emotional satisfaction and amisspelled reply, but who cares? Grammarn, spelling puicnctiona goes out the window with rationality, wince this is all an emotioinoal outburst...i mean WHAT THE&%$*()%$%$# ANYWAY!!! WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE TELLING EM HOW TO DO AIKIDO?? i ALREADY KNOW HOW!!

When you read reactions like that, you have to ask yourself, "Who looks like the fool here?" What's interesting is that you can't hide anything you've written. As long as the server is up, anyone with internet access can read your reply. Your message can be read for years to come by people who know you as well as complete strangers. An interesting thing to do is to go over your old messages and read them as if they were written by someone else. Do I write like an idiot? Do I still agree with that point of view?

You didn't even let him get to the good stuff. Why would he think zazen is so important? What are the benefits of aikido and zazen? What does he think is the essence of aikido that kototama and zazen uncovers? How has aikido changed as he sees it, after a 26 years absence? Why did he stop practicing and why did he restart? Did he do zazen and kototama during that period? How can you expect people to explain their positions, unless you allow them to speak?

...Argument was inevitable.If you let it happen. Your reaction is a major part of the equation. Of course you could use your skill and technique to avoid conflict. We know that since we both do aikido.

Kevin Wilbanks
12-31-2006, 03:28 PM
I have looked at things I have said in the past, from time to time. I have almost never used bad grammar, typed in extreme haste, or written anything that looks 'idiotic' to me later. If anything, it sometimes looks a little overblown and too verbose.

Of course, I have changed my opinion on things, but there are many things I haven't changed my opinion about. Among these are the distastefulness of rigid, dogmatic thinking, the perpetration of fallacy as fact, and especially the practice of dissimulating - as the saying goes 'don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining'. On some level, I consider combating these as a sort of duty - right now our country is going to hell largely because so few are upholding standards of basic reasoning and intellectual honesty.

To put it more simply, we are practically drowning in bullshit these days. Unlike you, when someone offers up a steaming heap of it, I'm not that concerned about jewels of wisdom being buried within, and I'm definitely not interested in pretending it's a delicious dessert confection. I'm interested in calling it out for what it is. Regardless of his or your magnanamous intent, your characterization of what he was doing as a 'simple declaration of belief' was simply more dissembling, as is your characterization of what I am doing as a semi-literate, "quick reaction" for my own emotional satisfaction. I don't think useful inquiry can proceed from lies.

As far as the sample questions you've provided, I don't see the relevance, and I question your sincerity in bringing them up. Nothing is stopping you from ignoring the argument and asking them. You could have asked them by now if you were truly interested... technically you still haven't. Instead, you've only brought them up as a hypothetical to try to paint me as a philistine as part of your own argument.

Mike Galante
01-02-2007, 01:51 AM
You didn't even let him get to the good stuff. 1) Why would he think zazen is so important? 2) What are the benefits of aikido and zazen? 3) What does he think is the essence of aikido that Kototama and zazen uncovers? 4) How has aikido changed as he sees it, after a 26 years absence? 5) Why did he stop practicing and why did he restart? 6) Did he do zazen and Kototama during that period?

Thanks for your comments, Ted I will try answer your questions.

In my humble opinion:

1)Many forms of meditation, I believe, can take you to the same place. Since we are martial artists, with a cut to the chase type attitude, zazen is such a direct and fast way to sensing oneness or nothingness "becoming one with", in my experience.
This takes a very calm mind to begin with. How can any of us realistically talk about facing death with a calm mind without intense training? That is my premise. How many people to you know? I certainly don't think I can. Many don't have the discipline to not get sucked into a disagreement let alone a mortal confrontation.

2) About 15 years ago I had the good fortune to volunteer and begin a zazen group in Sing Sing prison. I brought a hatha yogi in who did 45 minutes of stretching, then we did 3 sessions of 40 minutes sitting, with 2 10 minute walking meditations interspersed. We counted breaths 1-10.
I wanted to teach Aikido but they, understandably, wanted no martial arts taught. Of course I could have tried to convince them of the peaceful nature of aikido, but .
So after the 3rd sitting, (2 plus hours) these lifers, most of them in for murder, were so charged with ki, that it didn't matter where we were. You could cut the peace and harmony in the room. We did this two times a week for 3 years and then I turned it over to a Zen monk, who wrote a book about it later.
So you see I have seen intense Zazen, permeate the most disturbed of people, and bring them into harmony. As an aside, I felt more protected in that prison than outside it. I felt they would have protected me.

http://www.homeopathyone.com/MEDITATION/how_to_meditate.htm

3) The definition of Aikido is really a definition of a path to enlightenment. This subject is so vast and difficult to talk about, that I feel foolish even trying to explain it because I am not there. I have had glimpses.
Kototama definitely helps in that the movements on the mat, can correspond to the sounds.
The essence of Aikido is as Usheiba taught: to unite heaven and earth and make human beings one family. A kind of spiritual alchemy, converting the U and O levels toward the A, E, I levels. (See other posts in this thread)

My original point was that, yes, there is a lot of Aikido out there without spiritual practice, but the Aikido of our founder is virtually nowhere to be found. That kind of calm, flow with joy.

Once the mind is calm (2-3 yrs) then the higher energies can begin to take root in a person. Without a calm mind, it is not possible. My question was and still is, can Aikido practice alone achieve this end? Or maybe the question should be how long does it take to achieve a spiritual end with mat practice alone?

4) After 26 years, you see I had a distorted view of Aikido. I was living at a Kundalini Yoga ashram, at age 22, for 4 years in upstate ny. The guru there was a man named Rudrananda.

My original Aikido teacher, Greg Brodsky, also a student of Rudra, brought Nakazono (student of Usheiba) over here from France.
So being an Uchi-deshi for Nakazono and Brodsky was an intense experience, combined with Kundalini yoga with a guru in the eve. I was doing karma yoga during the day refinishing furniture at the antique store we ran.
We did 2 hours of zazen, Kototama sounds, weapons, Aikido with Nakazono every morning. Then if it was cold enough, we would disrobe and do Misogi in the icy mountain stream next to the dojo.

So getting back on the mat at a "commercial dojo" with normal people, not so intensely interested in spiritual commitment is a change in itself. Let alone the fact that times are changed since 1970. I wasn't really allowed to do Aikido without strong Ki. I noticed that some of the practitioners I have seen are missing basic mechanical points that make me think that somebody should have taught them this by this time. e.g.: Basic same side Katatatori tenkan, leaving the wrist behind with no extension of ki by a person practicing for 2 years.
To me it is pretty sloppy. Now granted, I have only been back, about 3 weeks.
I am looking forward to visiting the NY Aikikai again, I hear they maintain a good level there.

5) I had to stop practicing because of medical school and residency. My teacher told me to teach Aikido, so I did teach in Mexico City in 1976 while going to Med school near there. After medical training, for 11 yrs. I left all the western medicine behind to learn Electro acupuncture, then Homeopathy. I never practiced allopathic medicine even though I am licensed to do so.
With a sick wife and small family to raise, being on call, and then driving them to soccer tournaments practically every weekend, well, you know. Now that my children are both grown, and graduated college, I have restarted my Aikido practice with a 58 year old body. Tough. Will take some time to tone the muscles and ligaments.
6) I did not, however stop my spiritual practices, breathing exercises, Kundalini, zazen, Kototama, and prayer. So calling up the ki, is still working.
The reason I restarted Aikido was to finish what I had started for the first 7 years. I figure, I have another 10-12 or more years left and I am hoping that I can help others along the way. I have always been an athlete, and the physical, ego grinding experience of Aikido can only help to advance my spiritual state.
The self defense aspect of Aikido is real, but I never concern myself too much with it. It is the least of what Aikido has to offer. For me, the ability to sense the tension of conflict before it ever has a chance to kindle, is a joy.
Most physical conflicts will be avoided because your "enemy" will not sense any fight building. People who fight want to feel that resistance, it offers a challenge, it stimulates the passion for dominance. An Aikidoist projects positive and nourishing Ki all around, so those near are disarmed by the peaceful and happy nature of the aura. You see, if the energy is only in the Tanden, then it becomes a power center, but the heart must be open to really be free, to really sense the oneness, otherwise, without the universal love, it is ego, and duality.
For me all the spiritual practices boil down to, surrender to God, allow the grace, ki, whatever to permeate deeply throughout the entire being. Keep asking and digging deeper and striving to increase and open deeper and deeper with time. Then learn to live in tanden and heart. Get out of the head. We here in the west are too head oriented. On your deathbed, the only technique is total surrender.
Hopefully this is some of the "good stuff". I can go on and on if you want me to! Thanks for asking.

Peace and Love for 2007

Mike :cool:

Kevin Leavitt
01-02-2007, 05:05 AM
Mike,

I can tell I am going to enjoy discussing things with you! Don't have time right now, but I will think about a few things to discuss later on. We have much in common from a different perspective that I think will make for interesting exploration.

tedehara
01-02-2007, 06:41 AM
Mike,

Thanks for taking the time to explain. While I may not practice what you practice or train in the way you do, I think there is enough bandwidth for all.

Take care

Ted

Mike Galante
01-03-2007, 09:29 AM
Thanks,

Looking forward to enlightening discussions. This has been a lot of fun so far.
Best,

Mike

Thalib
01-04-2007, 05:26 AM
Mike,

What you wrote is excellent... basically I'm on the same wavelength with you on this one. Though the practice and implementation is a bit different, but the principle is the same. Then again, we all walk a diferent path.

I like what you wrote here,

For me all the spiritual practices boil down to, surrender to God, allow the grace, ki, whatever to permeate deeply throughout the entire being.

Mike Galante
01-06-2007, 02:19 PM
You guys are great. Wish we could train together. :cool:

Erik Calderon
01-14-2007, 08:52 PM
I've read several books about Zazen, and must confess that only have had one class.

Many times before a class, I'll sit in Zazen and focus on my breathing. I've always felt more energy and clarity during a lesson after I did some Zazen.

There have been many physiological studies on meditation and breathing, all coming back with positive results. So scientifically, I must agree that Zazen in very beneficial for training, but maybe not necessary.

Kevin Leavitt
01-15-2007, 09:59 AM
I like this story....

One of the early Zen Masters Ma-tsu

When he went to study with his teacher, whenever he had free time he would go into the zendo and meditate. Somebody noticed this and drew it to the attention of his teacher Nan-yueh. So he went down and questioned him and said:

Oh, great one what are you aiming at by sitting there in
meditation like that? What do you want?

Ma-tsu said: I want to become a buddha.

The teacher then picked up a ceramic tile and began to rub
it on a rock very vigorously in the dojo, right there. This
got the student's attention and Ma-tsu asked him:

What are you doing?

He said: I'm polishing it to make it into a mirror

Mike Galante
01-15-2007, 11:34 AM
I love those Zen stories. What people often miss is that these students have put much energy and time into reaching the point where the teachers words can sink in.
They have dug the mine to the point where the gold is just below the surface and the teacher brings then the next few inches to paydirt.
How foolish the student appears when the teacher corrects him but many are willing to sacrifice to get to that point ?

I love it when people say you are already enlightened! All you have to do is ... whatever. Even the buddha spent years to achieve what he did. Usheiba certainly did. And he was an exceptional person.

I like the one where the student is raking up every last leaf under a lone tree. "Perfect" said the young student. The teacher comes over and shakes the tree, with some leaves falling, saying
"that's better!".
Milarepa had to go through years of trial and tribulations under his teacher to burn out his karma. See my reply to you on Ki ball of energy thread from today.
All the Best,
Mike

JonathanPhillips
10-20-2007, 05:26 PM
How does one reasonably start the discipline of zazen? I have the bench but have done nothing about the practice. Advice? Thoughts?

Mark Uttech
10-22-2007, 07:52 PM
sigh... as with any other worthwhile thing, you have to find a teacher. You can begin with the question: "what is zazen?" and the you can continue with the question: "what is zazen?"

In gassho,

Mark

Shizentota
10-23-2007, 12:00 AM
Great answer,
Thank all for your expiriences,
I'll love start learnig Kotodama,
how I do that,

Best
Manu

Paul Milburn
12-06-2007, 12:32 PM
I think what we have to achieve is some sort of distinction between bodily practice and the zazen issue. Clearly aikido as a practice is very difficult to do as a form of pure zazen specifically because we work through the body to reach the mind and the body trains hard and noisily and with some degree of discomfort to reach higher levels of discipline.... whereas in zazen per se we still the body and are quiet. I think personally, aikido is a way of training the mind through the medium of physical bodily techniques, it is not really a way of stilling the mind as in zazen. Aikido has to be preserved from the danger of over spiritualisation and kept firmly on the tatami. Extend the principles into daily life most definately, but rooted always in the physical techniques of the tatami.

Bill Danosky
04-03-2008, 11:54 PM
Rinpoche asked the other day what we thought "meditation" meant. I thought about it over the weekend and decided my answer was, "existence apart from our thoughts".

Bruce Lee had a statement to the effect that conciousness of self was the biggest obstacle to a proper physical performance. I think he was referring to a state of mind removed from the usual jabber of human brain activity.

The truly rewarding feelings like love and happiness seem to originate from a level of being beyond what we consider "thought". It probably makes for better Aikido, too.

Ana-Maria Trandafir
11-22-2008, 05:39 PM
Bruce Lee had a statement to the effect that consciousness of self was the biggest obstacle to a proper physical performance. I think he was referring to a state of mind removed from the usual jabber of human brain activity.

Osu!
:) I feel "consciousness of self" can mean different things, according to the context in which it's being used.
If "self" means our knowledge (limited / mind based, in most cases ;) ), then being conscious of this is something hindering to any sort of a training.
It may be more appropriate, though, to understand the "self" as our true nature or spirit. The English language makes it here a bit easier than other languages, because you have the difference between conscious and aware.
Being aware of your body, for instance, means to be able to coordinate it / control it / tune it up to subtle spiritual energies. Being conscious of it it's something totally different.

I'd rather say that you can be conscious of your body, emotions, intellect, etc. But you cannot be conscious of your self (if one understands "self" as our deep / spiritual existence) - because being conscious simply does not touch, does not have any common ground with that self.;) What one can do about the self is to slowly become aware if its subtle patterns and functionality :) and gradually realize it in its completeness and oneness.

This also melts down thoughts into a reality based perception. It's not so effective to go around thoughts and try to find behind them something higher. You can only do this using again your mind, using and producing other thoughts. It goes faster if one deeply desires this subtle spiritual awareness to manifest - like this you surrender your energies not to the thoughts, but to this unknown yet perception. :) And stay receptive to it, as it starts manifesting, and get to know it.

Zazen is meditation in sitting position (za), as being differentiated from the meditation in movement (= acting to achieve good deeds / to get good karma, living in harmony with the divine laws, trying to lead a normal live but keeping your attention in union with the divine, etc). I guess all religions, from Hindus to Catholics, mention these both sides of meditation.

For me Aikido practice is definitely meditation in movement, because I feel we achieve a state of being and clarity of perception very similar to those obtained through sitting meditation. (I've been practicing Sahaja Yoga meditation and it's been quite fun to notice similarities under different expression forms, in yoga and aikido practice.)
In our dojo we do a little bit of mokuso in the beginning and it makes a difference - when I arrived at the dojo a few minutes later and skipped the short mokuso session I had some difficulties tuning up to what was going on there :). But anyway, throughout the training I will feel that the meditation state is getting deeper and there is sort of a balancing and purification going on, beside the physical training. So the meditation is going on, in a different manner. I'm a beginner in a Yoshinkan club, so what I'm being taught is pretty much about physical correctness ;) , you can imagine. Still, if the persons leading the training are in balance and in tune with their spiritual energies, they might not talk at all about it, but the result is a meditation in movement :) .

It's probably different from one dojo to another, and very much according to your sensei and the rest of the group. If their attention goes too much on the physical side, then it's probably quite necessary to counter balance this tendency through some zazen or a meditation / devotional practice appropriate to your own believes or culture. If they are too meditative, :D (is this possible? ), then I don't know :) .

Best of luck!

Ana-Maria

Ana-Maria Trandafir
11-22-2008, 05:47 PM
Rinpoche asked the other day what we thought "meditation" meant.....

:) I just noticed that your dojo is also a Yoshinkan one.

Stefan Stenudd
11-22-2008, 06:23 PM
We always do zazen, or mokuso, in our aikido classes. I like to have a rather practical approach to it in aikido practice. It encircles keiko.
Before starting the practice, we do a short meditation, mainly to empty ourselves of everyday life distractions and to begin budo breathing and such. At the end of the class, we finish with a just as short meditation to bring ourselves down to everyday life rhythm and power.
So, mokuso becomes a kind of on and off switch for keiko.

Of course, it can become much more - but that sort of happens by itself, given time.

Bagua
02-02-2009, 08:42 AM
ho everyone

I really don;t like sitting meditation it really husts my legs and knees as i have quiet large thighs, i find standing meditation much better for me, i have been doing ti for just over 4 years and it continues to be a source of teaching for me

I am still to find out if there is a reason to sitting that goes beyond standing, maybe it is only for a time thing i.e. you can sit for longer than you can stand

on the occasion that i do sitting i use a chair, softy i know hehhe

i would say that to do aikido well yes you should do some form of meditation but i would recommend that for all types of martial art

Tony Wagstaffe
02-02-2009, 09:22 AM
Hi, am new to the Forums, and wanted to say emphatically that Aikido in it's outer form is marital, in it's essence is transcendental. How can one expect to achieve the oneness that O Sensei seemed to have by just practicing dynamic technique? It is hard enough to sense this when sitting quietly. Sit Zazen ideally before class to achieve what our master had to offer!

All the Best,
Mike Galante

I for one am not of a spiritual nature, I do not believe in spirits, religion etc and have a rational outlook towards martial arts, aikido included.... this has not affected or improved my ability in achieving effective waza....
However I do find that sitting quietly and using my own method of deep breathing helps one to "centre" and clear ones mind.... which can be done anywhere at anytime.... just for health reasons alone is fine

Tony

John Matsushima
02-02-2009, 11:23 AM
I don't find zazen necesary for training. I think that Zen philosophy has some similar points in Aikido, and I find it interesting, but it seems to be a different road. Spiritual transcendence in Aikido , i believe, is found not only with how we connect within, but in connecting to the world outside. Live, dynamic Aikido practice helps me to put it all together; if one part is out of place, then everything is. I also think that much of Ueshiba's writings point in this direction as well. In my experience, I think i have grown more spiritually when I practiced compassion and kindness towards others, thinking of others and the outside world, than when I had practiced prayer, meditation, and was more introspective. Getting whacked by a monk sure did "clear" my mind, though, ha ha.

Chris Evans
06-06-2011, 02:46 PM
Yes.

Zazen, (sitting meditation with full awareness of self, focusing on the danger or opportunity, and everything around you at the same momment -- a paradox, such as: you are unique, just like everyone else --), could be beneficial if your mind would like to improve perception so to instinctively, to know what to do without seemingly 'knowing" and without distracting delusions, esp. when split second(s) could determine the nature of life and death of a contact.

Our community's fortunate to have several zendo to choose from to practice with, to complement our movement phase of martial arts in various dojo/gyms.

Osu.

p.s. zazen is not worshiping nor praying, zazen is not a religion, although, just like Aikido, regular and qualitative practice under a wise teacher can help you to make best use of precious time.

sakumeikan
06-06-2011, 06:21 PM
Hello Paul,

Good. You guessed who my teacher was. His father-in-law was M. Sekiya Sensei, who studied kenjutsu.

Best wishes,
Dear Peter,
Sekiya Sensei, a wonderful man , great aikido and so benevolent.
He and his wife were such warm hearted people.It was due to Sekiya Sensei and his advice to me I had a better understanding of Aikido.His sword work was wonderful.To this day I miss him badly.Hope you are well.Cheers, Joe.Ps Watched some dvds of him today.Great stuff.

Benjamin Mehner
06-09-2011, 10:42 PM
sigh... as with any other worthwhile thing, you have to find a teacher. You can begin with the question: "what is zazen?" and the you can continue with the question: "what is zazen?"

In gassho,

Mark

Aren't you likely to get a knock to the noggin for asking such questions? My Iaido instructor told us to beware those bald guys in the robes. He said they were dangerous. This may have something to do with the fact that his sensei is a Zen monk. He's also the monk that performed my marriage. :D

Chris Evans
07-21-2011, 02:28 PM
zazen, sitting zen (being mindfully aware while sitting), is not worshiping nor praying. zazen, samadhi, or shikantaza is direct experience, has nothing to do with being devotional. matter of fact, being devotional can evoke a lot of delusions.

zazen is unnecessary to be a fighter, might even detract from physical, weapons, or group-tactics training.

zazen improves awareness and instinctive-wisdom thus a handy practice to be a more enlightened warrior. not the only way, but a way. my way.

in balancing all that i am grateful in life, i'd like to do more zazen, karate, jiu-jitsu, and surfing. so, I watch less T.V. & less on internet.

Osu

Chris Evans
03-14-2012, 10:50 AM
zazen, sitting zen (being mindfully aware while sitting), is not worshiping nor praying. zazen, samadhi, or shikantaza is direct experience, has nothing to do with being devotional. matter of fact, being devotional can evoke a lot of delusions.

zazen is unnecessary to be a fighter, might even detract from physical, weapons, or group-tactics training.

zazen improves awareness and instinctive-wisdom thus a handy practice to be a more enlightened warrior. not the only way, but a way. my way.

in balancing all that i am grateful in life, i'd like to do more zazen, karate, jiu-jitsu, and surfing. so, I watch less T.V. & less on internet.

Osu

these days... more zazen (shikantaza/samadhi), not enough karate, and moving towards less clutter and fewer hobbies.

activities picking up again are gardening, shooting, and hunting preparations and still look forward to resume aikido training... Hopefully, beekeeping, providing home for honeybees do not take up much time.

I did manage to watch all of "Downton Abbey."

I view Zen (Ch'an) Buddhist zazen practice as an indispensable aspect to wiser martial arts (combat prevention or survival) & life training.

mathewjgano
03-15-2012, 10:28 AM
these days... more zazen (shikantaza/samadhi), not enough karate, and moving towards less clutter and fewer hobbies.

activities picking up again are gardening, shooting, and hunting preparations and still look forward to resume aikido training... Hopefully, beekeeping, providing home for honeybees do not take up much time.

I did manage to watch all of "Downton Abbey."

I view Zen (Ch'an) Buddhist zazen practice as an indispensable aspect to wiser martial arts (combat prevention or survival) & life training.

This really rings familiar to me, particularly the part about having less hobbies and focusing more on the few activities I'm choosing. I don't know zazen meditation, but I would descrbe the ones I have experience with as promoting similar effects. Misogi and Chinkon Gyo both seem to apply to that idea of instinctive-wisdom you described and, for me, they have been central what little practice I've managed to make happen.
That's cool about the bee-keeping! I've trained with a couple guys who do that and it seems fascinating, never mind delicious! Also, considering I recently heard the honey market is aparently full of bogus non-honey (no pollen, etc. in the sugar), it's a good way to ensure you're actually eating real honey.
I view meditation as a means of promoting autonomy through refining the conscious and subconscious perceptions. My first exposure to meditation came when I was a kid. During tough times in particular, I would find a quiet place and just sit and focus on breathing and then think about whatever was bothering me, always returning periodically to calming my breath. It would always help, even if just a little...either I would come up with logical answers (that invariably helped) or I would at least calm down so I could engage the problem without the emotional tension. It provided a calm center to some fairly chaotic situations and I'm convinced made a big difference in how I turned out today compared with some of my friends growing up. Having an organized mind is just as important as having an organized body.

OwlMatt
03-15-2012, 12:28 PM
I have a few problems with OP:
(1) Aikido is not Zen training.
(2) A few minutes of sitting before class is not zazen.
(3) Zazen needs to be taught, and most aikido instructors are not Zen masters.

If OP had said that a few moments of quiet and clarity of mind are necessary for aikido, I might agree.

sakumeikan
03-15-2012, 12:49 PM
The question is what is zazen?

stan
Dear Stan,
Just sitting.Cheers, Joe.

Marc Abrams
03-15-2012, 01:42 PM
Dear Stan,
Just sitting.Cheers, Joe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd3rA89VhtA

Hey Joe! Toss me another beer as we Zazen the time away....:D

Marc Abrams

sakumeikan
03-15-2012, 01:59 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd3rA89VhtA

Hey Joe! Toss me another beer as we Zazen the time away....:D

Marc Abrams
Hi Marc,
After contemplating my navel for a week or so , without any success in terms of Enlightenment, I would settle for a couple of Buds /Fosters in your local tavern.After a few pints I reckon I would be in a state [not too sure what kind ] -possibly a drunken one.The first beer would be on me !! Cheers, Joe.

Marc Abrams
03-15-2012, 02:11 PM
Hi Marc,
After contemplating my navel for a week or so , without any success in terms of Enlightenment, I would settle for a couple of Buds /Fosters in your local tavern.After a few pints I reckon I would be in a state [not too sure what kind ] -possibly a drunken one.The first beer would be on me !! Cheers, Joe.

Joe:

I will have to teach you the secret art of suds-zen. After a couple of pints of contemplation, we will be guided to Saporo-satori.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSjjmEbvfp0

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Janet Rosen
03-15-2012, 03:18 PM
http://youtu.be/ASk-qX-IWGs
Biiru waza

lars beyer
03-15-2012, 05:57 PM
http://youtu.be/ASk-qX-IWGs
Biiru waza
AAAAhahahahah.. this is great !
:)

sakumeikan
03-15-2012, 07:40 PM
http://youtu.be/ASk-qX-IWGs
Biiru waza

Hey, Janet,
I will drink to that!! Kampai!!!! cheers, Joe

Janet Rosen
03-15-2012, 09:42 PM
Hey, Janet,
I will drink to that!! Kampai!!!! cheers, Joe

Joe, anytime you decide to cross the pond and head to the Left Coast we have some lovely local beers and ales and the first round is on me. Lars, same offer to you!

sakumeikan
03-16-2012, 03:56 AM
Joe, anytime you decide to cross the pond and head to the Left Coast we have some lovely local beers and ales and the first round is on me. Lars, same offer to you!
Dear Janet,
What an incentive !! To hell with aikido lets just go on a pub crawl.Personally I have met guys in beer halls who have more understanding of human condition than myself. Maybe alcohol has some therapeutic value? Janet , if you decide to visit the North East of England [rain /wind and chill factor at times only bearable by Polar bears] I will happily show you around and the local ale[Newcastle Brown ]
is a local delicacy. Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
03-16-2012, 04:40 AM
With all due respect, I think it's pretty clear that it wasn't.

FL

Dear Fred,
On what basis do you make this assertion?I would imagine that there are few people alive today who would be able to assess O Senseis level of spiritual level on a first hand basis.Most of what little we know of O Sensei is mostly second hand.Only people close to O Sensei I would suggest have any real understanding of the man. As far as Buddha is concerned while it took him years to reach his realisation would it not possible to have an revelation or a spiritual awakening without having to spend decades before acquiring enlightenment or wisdom?I am thinking of Paul who on the road to Damascus had his own revelation/spiritual awakening.Cheers, Joe.

Marc Abrams
03-16-2012, 07:31 AM
Dear Janet,
What an incentive !! To hell with aikido lets just go on a pub crawl.Personally I have met guys in beer halls who have more understanding of human condition than myself. Maybe alcohol has some therapeutic value? Janet , if you decide to visit the North East of England [rain /wind and chill factor at times only bearable by Polar bears] I will happily show you around and the local ale[Newcastle Brown ]
is a local delicacy. Cheers, Joe.

Joe:

Reminds me of when we visited my oldest boy, who did a semester at University of York. Samuel Smith was cask drawn! Oh states of satori, nirvanna, etc....... Burp..... Nothing quite like local delicacies. If you do come back to the NYC area, a guy who went to school with my daughter, opened a microbrewery. Captain Lawrence. Rated now as one of the top 20 microbreweries in the world! Would love to share some of that elixir with you.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Nicholas Eschenbruch
03-16-2012, 12:11 PM
Marc, Joe,
As I never get tired of repeating, I hope you realise that sipping wine used to be an established Zen (Ch'an) method in the heydays of ancient China. I practise that wise approach to meditation quite regularly on my balcony, and the myriad things become one very easily.

I dont know what cultural decline set in to eliminate that form of practice from the Zen canon....

(My reference here is David Hinton's fantastic book "Mountain Home".)

Marc Abrams
03-16-2012, 06:26 PM
Marc, Joe,
As I never get tired of repeating, I hope you realise that sipping wine used to be an established Zen (Ch'an) method in the heydays of ancient China. I practise that wise approach to meditation quite regularly on my balcony, and the myriad things become one very easily.

I dont know what cultural decline set in to eliminate that form of practice from the Zen canon....

(My reference here is David Hinton's fantastic book "Mountain Home".)

Nicholas:

I am a proud follower of that tradition! Red wine is my preferred path to enlightenment. As a matter of fact, I am going to be opening a bottle of 2004 Cabernet in a couple of minutes...

Enjoy!

Marc Abrams

lars beyer
03-18-2012, 03:34 AM
Nicholas:

I am a proud follower of that tradition! Red wine is my preferred path to enlightenment. As a matter of fact, I am going to be opening a bottle of 2004 Cabernet in a couple of minutes...

Enjoy!

Marc Abrams

"In vino veritas"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_vino_veritas

:)

I know a danish filmproducer who once set out to make a film with the above title: "In Vino Veritas"....
He, the director, a renegade son of an Italian wineyard owner, and the crew went to Italy to shoot this documentary at this wineyard (with a HUGE winecellar) and they returned 3 weeks later with no usable footage whatsoever, and a hangover the size of the european continent.
I guess if the truth is in the wine the truth in this case is that shooting a film with this title in a winecallar is alltogether a vary, very bad idea...!
:) CHEERS !
Lars

(sorry for interrupting this thread and taking it in a bad direction.. couldn´t help myself..)

bothhandsclapping
03-31-2012, 07:10 PM
I've done both zazen and aikido for over 20 years, and for hundreds of times have sat nose to nose and stared into the eyes of the 105 year old zen master Joshu Sasaki Roshi ... my 2 cents.

For any level of understanding you will eventually need to ... reconcile the past, reconcile the present, and reconcile the future.

By itself, sitting will help you reconcile both the past and the present.
By itself, aikido will only help you reconcile the present.
And only a true teacher can get you to reconcile all three.

To that end, I see zazen being somewhat of a plus to an aikidoka (in dealing with the present moment), but neither by themselves or the two together is capable of getting you to any true level of understanding.

For that you need a true teacher. Do you have one? Are you one?

lars beyer
04-01-2012, 05:03 PM
Joe, anytime you decide to cross the pond and head to the Left Coast we have some lovely local beers and ales and the first round is on me. Lars, same offer to you!

Damn, only saw this invitation just now.. bummer.. but anyway..
Thanks a bunch ! Next time you manage to paddle across, I´ll buy the first round, we have some mighty fine micro breveries so forget about all that "Carlsberg, probably (not) the best beer in the world".. there is far better stuff awaiting :)

Janet Rosen
04-01-2012, 11:12 PM
Damn, only saw this invitation just now.. bummer.. but anyway..
Thanks a bunch ! Next time you manage to paddle across, I´ll buy the first round, we have some mighty fine micro breveries so forget about all that "Carlsberg, probably (not) the best beer in the world".. there is far better stuff awaiting :)

Everyplace probably has good local brews....to bring it back to original topic....if I were able to be physically comfortable sitting still maybe I'd see something to be gained in zazan... but to me a major point to, and plus of, doing aikido is that it involves movement.

lbb
04-02-2012, 11:53 AM
Everyplace probably has good local brews....to bring it back to original topic....if I were able to be physically comfortable sitting still maybe I'd see something to be gained in zazan... but to me a major point to, and plus of, doing aikido is that it involves movement.

There are other meditation traditions that don't prescribe one specific sitting posture. In the Shambhala tradition, for instance, you can sit cross-legged, but you can also use a chair if that's what works for you. The point of the meditation isn't to torture yourself with a physically uncomfortable postion; on the other hand, this meditation practice (and zazen as well) do bring you into contact with discomfort in the larger sense, and help you develop tools for being present with discomfort rather than trying to avoid it or escape from it or numb it out. It's a very valuable skill.

sakumeikan
04-02-2012, 06:15 PM
There are other meditation traditions that don't prescribe one specific sitting posture. In the Shambhala tradition, for instance, you can sit cross-legged, but you can also use a chair if that's what works for you. The point of the meditation isn't to torture yourself with a physically uncomfortable postion; on the other hand, this meditation practice (and zazen as well) do bring you into contact with discomfort in the larger sense, and help you develop tools for being present with discomfort rather than trying to avoid it or escape from it or numb it out. It's a very valuable skill.

Dear Mary,
As you say one does not have to sit in seiza /half lotus/full lotus to practice zazen.If you need to use a chair thats ok.My own feeling is that sitting in a manner which gives you pain,numbness,cramps in your legs and can damage your knees is a bit counter productive.Its a bit like priests in the Middle Ages wearing hair shirts,practicing self flagellation in the mistaken belief that somehow they get closer to
God by exacting pain/discomfort on themselves. Maybe there is a hint of masochism here??Beats me.Please.
Cheers, Joe.

Janet Rosen
04-02-2012, 08:42 PM
Some of us have issues simply with sitting still, including chronic pain. For us there is walking meditation. Or aikido. That's all I'm saying: I can't see how zazen specifically in and of itself is necessary for aikido or vice versa.

lbb
04-03-2012, 10:00 AM
Some of us have issues simply with sitting still, including chronic pain. For us there is walking meditation. Or aikido. That's all I'm saying: I can't see how zazen specifically in and of itself is necessary for aikido or vice versa.

I don't think it is. I think that it's one of several (I wouldn't say many) esoteric practices that, when pursued in a disciplined fashion, can help one's aikido in an indirect way.

You might also make the argument that without some kind of practice that gives you training in being fully present, you'll be unable to do aikido (or a lot of other things) beyond a certain level. The better your training in these practices, the better you are able to function in a situation where a lot of stuff is going on at once, and if we take this a step further, as you train or try to use aikido in increasingly more challenging situations, eventually that ability will become necessary.

oisin bourke
04-04-2012, 08:59 AM
Interestingly, there are meditative traditions in Tibetan buddhism (Tonglen) Judaism (the Lamed Vov) and some of Meister Eckhart's Chistian writings about taking on the sufferings (impurities?) of "the world" in order to purify/transform them. These seem remarkably close to some of Ueshiba's pronouncements, IMO.

Alberto_Italiano
04-05-2012, 02:45 PM
For unknown terms, google.

The position (asana) is not really relevant: whatever position best suits you for meditation or zazen, is already an asana Patanjali says.
You may even just lay.

Meditation differs from zazen inasmuch as with meditation you may choose a subject to focus upon (inclusive of an emotion).

Zazen, technically means that you stop your mind - that is, you try not to think. At that point position is not relevant, you will find already that controlling your mind is nearly impossibile, thoughts will keep popping.

It is said that if
1) you manage to do prolonged zazen without actual thoughts popping in
2) you manage to do that while in action
you would be (I quote from Takuan Soho) "unbeatable". However don't count on that - it is said also that one in several millions may succeed in being in full zazen whilst in action.

If you do zazen long enough, say months, you may add breathing exercises (though then it would be pranayama more than zazen, which implies not thinking even about breathing).

If you enter in dhyanas, it is reported you may spend a whole day there and not realize it.

In rare cases, you may experience stuff akin to OBE, it is said.

All signs like shivering, mental lights, physical vibrations, feeling circulation and pulse are normal. If you go on for a few months, you may get a taste about why they spoke about chakras, particularly abdomen and neck. If you start feeling chakras, you may get scared. If you don't get scared, I have no idea what happens next because I did.

ps: other phenomen I stumbled into: thoughts start falling in you: as if they were weights. Since you don't follow them anymore, they just "happen" but you let them go so you have the impression they have been flung at you. At times, you may experience a very frightening thing (at least to me): fully composed and meaningful sentences may start crossing your mind as arrows cast from who knows were - they swwoooooosh right in front of you, with a meaning.

Mark Harrington
04-26-2012, 12:19 PM
Kototama also appeared in William Gleason's book, The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido.

I am currently reading this book and trying gain what insight I can in to his view of O'Sensei and Aikido. It's clear that O'Sensei was motivated throughout his life by a spiritual quest. Coming from outside Japan and trying to understand the concepts he was working with may be beyond me.

Meanwhile, can I move my feet correctly, maintain my center, and execute a kokyu-nage?

Stefan Stenudd
04-26-2012, 03:18 PM
Coming from outside Japan and trying to understand the concepts he was working with may be beyond me.
Don't worry. Most of Osensei's students didn't get it, admitting to it readily.

James Sawers
04-30-2012, 07:03 PM
I have been practicing meditation for years. I've studied different types of meditation, so at this point my personal style is totally eclectic. I couldn't give a name to it. I just took different things from different styles that helped me and worked for me. Based on my experience, I would say that position is important in respect that the spine should be kept in proper alignment. Other than that caution, different positions can work.

I have also heard that to be a "complete" meditator, you need to practice a martial art. Same for martial arts: to be a complete martial artist, you need to practice some form of meditation. I have found that to be true for me. Each has helped me with the other.

In Good Practice...

Jim...

www.nothing-works.com

:circle:

OwlMatt
05-02-2012, 09:04 AM
I am currently reading this book and trying gain what insight I can in to his view of O'Sensei and Aikido. It's clear that O'Sensei was motivated throughout his life by a spiritual quest. Coming from outside Japan and trying to understand the concepts he was working with may be beyond me.

Meanwhile, can I move my feet correctly, maintain my center, and execute a kokyu-nage?
That is, frankly, a much more pertinent question. Aikido is O Sensei's message to us.

Chris Evans
06-25-2012, 11:31 AM
I have been practicing meditation for years. I've studied different types of meditation, so at this point my personal style is totally eclectic. I couldn't give a name to it. I just took different things from different styles that helped me and worked for me. Based on my experience, I would say that position is important in respect that the spine should be kept in proper alignment. Other than that caution, different positions can work.

I have also heard that to be a "complete" meditator, you need to practice a martial art. Same for martial arts: to be a complete martial artist, you need to practice some form of meditation. I have found that to be true for me. Each has helped me with the other.

In Good Practice...

Jim...

www.nothing-works.com

:circle:

Outstanding, heartily agreed:
"...to be a 'complete' meditator, you need to practice martial arts...to be a complete martial artist, you need to practice meditation. I have found that to be true for me...."

My meditation is Shikantaza/Mo-Chao. An example: http://www.amazon.com/The-Method-No-Method-Practice-Illumination/dp/1590305752/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340641742&sr=1-2&keywords=sheng+yen+chan

Thank you.

Nick Hentschel
10-02-2012, 08:09 PM
Sorry to have come into this thread so very late: I'm just returning to the forums after several weeks.

We have a weekly Zazen session at my school, and moreover, the Austin Zen Center is not far from me. However, I have to say that it's not very easy. My natural tendency is to attune myself to what's going on around me, not to block it out.

Last year, I took a kundalini yoga class, and found myself developing an almost radar-like sense of awareness: now THAT, I can use in aikido!

I'm curious about how to blend the two disciplines now.....

Chris Evans
10-02-2012, 10:02 PM
Sorry to have come into this thread so very late: I'm just returning to the forums after several weeks.

We have a weekly Zazen session at my school, and moreover, the Austin Zen Center is not far from me. However, I have to say that it's not very easy. My natural tendency is to attune myself to what's going on around me, not to block it out.

Last year, I took a kundalini yoga class, and found myself developing an almost radar-like sense of awareness: now THAT, I can use in aikido!

I'm curious about how to blend the two disciplines now.....

Zazen (shikantaza) expands awareness, eyes open, allowing thoughts to come and go, without holding on to thoughts, while maintaining full breathing and balanced posture.

Kundalini yoga sounds interesting.

Krystal Locke
10-03-2012, 04:23 AM
Might as well bring this question up here, since the zombies are apparently apocalypting....

Do I not remember reading somewhere that O-Sensei did not practice zen, saying that it was a practice of mu (the void, withoutness) and he was looking for yu (fullness)?

Where did I get that from?

phitruong
10-03-2012, 07:08 AM
Do I not remember reading somewhere that O-Sensei did not practice zen, saying that it was a practice of mu (the void, withoutness) and he was looking for yu (fullness)?



i thought it was practicing mu, with a bit of shu and pork and you will achieve yu with a full stomach. :)

Krystal Locke
10-03-2012, 12:30 PM
i thought it was practicing mu, with a bit of shu and pork and you will achieve yu with a full stomach. :)

Yu fun ni gai......

Actually sounds pretty good right now.

Nick Hentschel
10-03-2012, 12:53 PM
Zazen (shikantaza) expands awareness, eyes open, allowing thoughts to come and go, without holding on to thoughts, while maintaining full breathing and balanced posture.

Kundalini yoga sounds interesting.

That's what I thought zazen was supposed to be, but that's not how they're practicing it. When using the "counting your breath" approach, as I always had, they now insist that I start over whenever I hear something external, instead of of just noticing it quietly and going on counting, the way I always had. (Which works, and *does* create a certain amount of awareness.)
Their way, I never get to count past "1," and it drives me crazy! I eventually just get disheartened and stop. :(

lbb
10-03-2012, 01:12 PM
That's what I thought zazen was supposed to be, but that's not how they're practicing it. When using the "counting your breath" approach, as I always had, they now insist that I start over whenever I hear something external, instead of of just noticing it quietly and going on counting, the way I always had. (Which works, and *does* create a certain amount of awareness.)
Their way, I never get to count past "1," and it drives me crazy! I eventually just get disheartened and stop. :(

Maybe you shouldn't count, then. I don't find it very helpful, myself. One problem with counting as a meditation device is that most people think of it as a process with a goal to get to some certain number -- the bigger the better, count to 10 and you win a prize, or something. But counting can become a very intentional, very conscious act too, particularly if you're trying to get to a certain number and thus see "starting over" as some kind of setback or failure (it isn't). So, don't count. Just keep your focus on the breath (a process that doesn't take any intention of yours; it happens by itself). Don't try to breathe a certain way, just observe yourself breathing (without criticism, "gee I am not breathing very deeply, better fix that" etc.). When your mind wanders, recognize that it's wandered and gently guide it back to the breath.

One thing that I've found helpful when it seems like I just can't keep from thinking about everything else, is to remind myself that breathing is all I have to do right now. I've set aside this time for this thing; this is my time to breathe, not to clean the house or get started on that big new project for work or send my sister email. I don't have to do any of those things now, and I also don't have to think about them or plan them. I have this time set aside for something else.

oisin bourke
10-03-2012, 01:45 PM
That's what I thought zazen was supposed to be, but that's not how they're practicing it. When using the "counting your breath" approach, as I always had, they now insist that I start over whenever I hear something external, instead of of just noticing it quietly and going on counting, the way I always had. (Which works, and *does* create a certain amount of awareness.)
Their way, I never get to count past "1," and it drives me crazy! I eventually just get disheartened and stop. :(

I trained in the breath counting method in a Rinzai zen dojo (I believe this method is used in Rinzai not in Soto?), and they never insisted on that. That strikes me as being counterproductive.

As Mary intimated, I think you really have to find your own meditative doorway. It may be zen or it may be something else. I would just give the advice that you should initally gain a grounding in an authentic tradition.

Carsten Möllering
10-04-2012, 03:52 AM
Their way, I never get to count past "1," ...
That's why it is done.
I practiced this method for some time with a zen teacher.

... and it drives me crazy! I eventually just get disheartened and stop.
Continue. - If you like.
Talk to you teacher.
Maybe change your "focus" of awareness from the outside to you yourself. This method is not about connecting or atuning to the surrounding. It is indeed about getting able to lock it out.
At least this was the point of my teacher then.

Chris Evans
10-04-2012, 10:27 AM
I trained in the breath counting method in a Rinzai zen dojo (I believe this method is used in Rinzai not in Soto?), and they never insisted on that. That strikes me as being counterproductive.

As Mary intimated, I think you really have to find your own meditative doorway. It may be zen or it may be something else. I would just give the advice that you should initally gain a grounding in an authentic tradition.

Not being able to stop-thinking makes us alive and perfectly healthy, but being able to let thoughts pass by makes our mind more perceptive.

There are many ways to waste time in pursuit of meditation training or, even worse, ways to get further deluded or get our mind stuck on something harmful.

Even Japan's Bankei, of the Rinzai tradition, cautioned against getting attached to a contrived tool, such as koans.

Zazen or Tso-ch'an:

Honing your mind to be aware of all things, internal and external, with eyes open, while not clinging to naturally arising thoughts and maintaining useful posture and full breathing, ought to be a step in the useful direction, akin to what Siddartha had taught, which may be described as "shikantaza Zen" or "Mo-chao Ch'an 默照禪"

If a trust worthy zazen teacher is not near, then one of these two books maybe helpful:

"The Method of No-Method: The Chan Practice of Silent Illumination" by Sheng Yen

"Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki

pastor michael wolfe
10-04-2012, 12:39 PM
I have practiced meditation since my teen years and have been involved with martial arts for over 30 years. Some practice of meditation is crucial for a full understanding of Aikido. There are some basic physical rules to follow such as sit up tall. It is also important to have your hips higher than your knees so that you can breathe deeply. This can be accomplished by sitting on a pillow or by sitting seiza. I have used counting methods and other methods. They are all useful to get us started down the path. If you are just beginning meditation, then all this is important. We all need a practice method to get underway. But ultimately, we throw everything away and we just sit. The very word Zen is connected to the simple word "sit." If we sit, we will learn everything. It is a great discipline to sit each day for a period of time and just be with yourself. Whether in counting breaths, saying the rosary, repeating a phrase, or whatever, we ultimately just sit. We sit each day and every day. And we discover ourselves. We find life.

James Sawers
10-04-2012, 02:51 PM
We all may need to start somewhere; but, as Michael says so well, eventually all the "methods" are just not needed anymore.

oisin bourke
10-05-2012, 11:25 AM
Here is a link explaining the breath counting method, known as susokukan:

http://www.ningenzen.org/lay.html#a1.1.4

A quote pertinent here would be ;

"Now, you have sound visual and auditory senses and naturally you will see and hear things and sounds around you. Nevertheless the reaction of mind to them shall be "to see with no trace of seeing and to hear with no trace of hearing"; thus the mind keeps itself unfettered, despite the presence of things as is cast on mind. "