Monday, July 7, 2014

skipping zazen

Sunday, a day when I generally leave a little niche for zazen in the zendo, came like any other yesterday.

On this Sunday, for the first time in years and years, I didn't do zazen. Little and large, the determination that pointed the way in the past was simply not there, though I could feel it feeling a bit bereft.

I could make excuses or give explanations, but excuses and explanations never explained much.

Time passes. Things come and go. The special and unspecial eventually rest and flow and ... well, I just thought I'd mention it.

Same, different ... the forecast says it will be hot today.


  1. I forgive you old son, take a couple hail mary's out of petty cash and sin as little as willingness allows.

  2. Genkakau Adam,

    Tell us what you feel. Is this not simply "I took a day off." If it's a day off it's what oldchalie wrote. To that I'd add,in jest, "Your sin is forgiven, go forth and sin no more."

    Do you now feel that Zazen is now unnecessary for you? That you needed to take a sick day? Or a change up day off of your regular personal training schedule?

    Remember Zen practice has a historical monastic basis. But even monastic training changed forms from India to China to Korea and Japan.

    As lay practitioners especially independent one we make up our own "rules for training."

    I rather liked the training period model we practiced under in Zen Studies Society under Tai San and Soen Roshi. Intensify the training about three months. Take some time off. Repeat. It's still the way I train regardless of whether I am with a group or training alone. Also I've felt that some periods of my life needed a very light train schedule: baby in the house, insanity at work, sickness mine and family, My zazen day fall on a holiday, etc.. Just recently I had to mdofiy my training due to a bad reaction to a medication. Concentraion was very difficul, but if my practice is off and I can't sit, I see if I can I still chant? Do I need to chant along with a CD, Do I need to practicw sutra writing? Etc. Re-read some of Hakuin's advice to priests, monks and layman to get some general parameters if you have his books and care to look.

    Also steadiness of practice probably has different interpretations. Off hand if I understand you your practices of zazen and chanting and incense have been very steady and unchanging over time like 40 years, Did I get that right? No breaks? No highs and lows?

    Curious to learn.

    To your audience I imagine any reason is legitimate and every reason could be self deception.

    My feeling is OK may be you needed a break from you self discipline. But if you are qutting Zen, that's your business, but you'd like to share we're reading....

    Just Be Well.

  3. Also...

    We both trained under Kyudo Nakamura at different times.

    While I cannot record my voice to immitate his speaking style I might be able to do a barely convincinmg written imitation.

    Adam, just like you adjusted your practice to take good care of your family. That was the priority. Likewie take good care of "your self." There really is no set practice called Zen.

    Like we say at sesshin time. "Do your best!"

    I wish you the best,

    Hope all goes well.

    Hope I got it right for you and me.


  4. Thanks for the good wishes ... and the same to you.

    It's not as if skipping zazen were some accomplishment. It's just that I don't have the energy or especial desire to rouse it up. Among other energetic pursuits, a lot of the fizz has gone out of the willingness or desire to imagine something is missing. It's not as if I don't miss things ... I do. But making a lot out of it .... well, what's missing is missing and what's not is not.

    Not sure if that's responsive, but it's what I've got.

  5. Yeah. Time. Energy. Health. Age. Emotional State.

    Topics that we never really covered when we were training for something like a decade at NYZ. Never heard Soen Roshi speak about such things, nor Tai-san Shimano, nor Kyudo Roshi. Soen and Kyudo might have been the ones as they were older when we trained with them.

    Back in the 1970's it seemed to me that many Zen teachers believe they needed to develop a monastic training program and the monastic Zen Training was for young and healthy persons. A few like Yasutani referred to practice by less robust individuals. Philip Kapleau cites some examples in his first book, "Three Pillars of Zen."

    But forget the books, I firmly believe that we know on some instinctual / intuitive level what to do. Especially if we have been training regularly over a long period of time as I believe you have. Remember all the attention we gave to "cultivating the 'Hara' back in the day?" You earned it, so use it, old friend! Use it to take good care of the business of your life. I'll do the same.

    I think this is what we meant when we mouthed the words like, "let's encourage one another."

    - Frank (Mu Shin)

    * * *

    Feels like a scene out of a movie about some old farts. Cough Cough!

    Old buddy are you remembering to drink enough during this hot and humid July days? Due to my own health issues I have been exploring what happens when one gets dehydrated. It's not always obvious. Heed those health warnings too. I hope you can put yourself in an air conditioned room when you are feeling like an overcooked noodle. Damn take car service and get to a cooling center, a library, the movies, hell bring you glasses and go to the mall. May that'll reignite the spark. Just behave like a gentleman and not a dirty old man. Don't be like me and mutter stuff like, "Wow that crew looks hot!" One of those girls might have good ears and a dirty mind and blame you for her thoughts.

    "No, no the guys on the street paving crew looks so hot. I didn't mean you girls are so attractive it made me hot. LOL! Cough Cough! Cough! If only! They didn't buy it. :-( Hormones plus fear of getting clobbered gave me some extra speed that afternoon.

    PPS. "Accept the single smile but go for the belly laugh." It'll relieve tension as well as gas.