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Old 05-02-2012, 09:04 AM   #101
OwlMatt
 
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Re: Aikido's spiritual underpinnings

Quote:
Mark Harrington wrote: View Post
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.

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Old 06-25-2012, 11:31 AM   #102
Chris Evans
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Smile Re: Zazen necessary for training

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James Sawers wrote: View Post
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

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-...sheng+yen+chan

Thank you.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:09 PM   #103
Nick Hentschel
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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.....
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:02 PM   #104
Chris Evans
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Smile Re: Zazen necessary for training

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Nicholas Hentschel wrote: View Post
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.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:23 AM   #105
Krystal Locke
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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?
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:08 AM   #106
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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Krystal Locke wrote: View Post

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.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:30 PM   #107
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:53 PM   #108
Nick Hentschel
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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Chris Evans wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:12 PM   #109
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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Nicholas Hentschel wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:45 PM   #110
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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Nicholas Hentschel wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:52 AM   #111
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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Nicholas Hentschel wrote: View Post
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.

Quote:
... 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.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:27 AM   #112
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Smile Re: Zazen necessary for training

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Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
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

Last edited by Chris Evans : 10-04-2012 at 10:35 AM.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:39 PM   #113
pastor michael wolfe
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:51 PM   #114
James Sawers
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

We all may need to start somewhere; but, as Michael says so well, eventually all the "methods" are just not needed anymore.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:25 AM   #115
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

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. "

Last edited by oisin bourke : 10-05-2012 at 11:29 AM.
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