Author Topic: Zazen Vs Vipassana  (Read 48485 times)

shendy

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2010, 01:51:03 PM »
Leaving this forum.

Just to let everyone know I am leaving this forum. 

As a survivor of abuse I am currently working on some rather painful issues, my mindulfness practise is shining lights on places my pyshce has not been ready to face.

Good luck to everyone.

If anyone wants to go to Japan to do Zen I reccommend these places;

BukokoJi, HoshinJi and if you want some very intense Rinzain-Koan work go to RyotakuJi. Be preperred to eat shit if you go, especially at RyotakuJi.

I never went to RyotakuJi as the stories about it were intence e.g. they force you to sit in full lotus whether you can or not, they literally wrap you in a futon and tie you up in it each night to sleep.

RyotakuJi is in the tradition of Hakuin ZenJi and they seem to take enlightenment, Satori, Kensho, v-e-r-y seriously.

My main teacher was from there he was 100% AMAZING.He pushed me beyond my limits and I had one Kensho under him.

If you go to BukokoJi or HoshinJi they have 3 monthly, week long sesshions which if dont kill you either make you into an invalid or make you stronger and kinder etc.

Anyone who thinks Vipassana and Zazen are similar has never practised Zen in any of the above places under the old school Zen traditions.

Good luck and take care.

Shendy.






Morning Dew

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2010, 02:08:41 PM »
Good man and thanks for sharing it means alot.

Qigong might be good to you. Try it and see.

Kind regards

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2010, 09:51:20 PM »
...
You mentioned people achieving liberation in 1 week, during the time of the Buddha, to me talking about those time frames appear to be supportive of attermpting to force stuff. You say you caution against forcing development, but you talk about achieving in one week too and just stopping and being in the here and now. My understanding of your language is that is sounds rather supportive of the forced approach.

With all due respect Matthew, possibly you are giving mixed messages? I dont mean that disrespectfully just factually.

Stephen,

I know you mean no disrespect. You say what you mean and mean what you say. That I can respect.

The understanding you have reached is confused for this reason:

When I talk about the Buddha leading people to awakening in one week I am using those stories to point out that 99% of modern Buddhism is doing something mistaken on a fundamental level. I do not see any Arahant factories in modern Buddhism.

When I talk about not using force I am actually pointing out one of those places where most Modern Buddhism is getting it wrong, on the one hand, and giving practical meditation advice to others to boot. There is a place for Shila, discipline - getting to the cushion, following the instructions, maintaining awareness - but none of this requires force.

Meditation needs to be open and relaxed as well as maintaining a balance of awakeness and awareness. This does not require force so much as maintaining vigilant but relaxed insight: "The monk ... setting mindfulness to the fore ..".

Oh .. and as to the debate regarding sitting in a group there are several benefits at the start of the path for sure: encouragement & camaraderie (spiritual friends), a help to actually doing the practice (I want to be there for the others) - and though such things, in the long run, indeed as soon as possible - need to be abandoned, they are not to be underestimated in their power to help people keep meditating.

As long as they do so they will be letting go of things and come to the put where they can follow the Buddha's advices: "There is the case where a monk — having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building — sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect and setting mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out. "

M
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2010, 09:56:02 PM »
Leaving this forum.

Just to let everyone know I am leaving this forum. 

As a survivor of abuse I am currently working on some rather painful issues, my mindulfness practise is shining lights on places my pyshce has not been ready to face.
...

Stephen,

As a fellow survivor I can only say that I know what you are going through and I hope you don't leave the forum.

Just find a little peace and stay less involved. Post in a few chosen topics that matter to you. But don't burn all your bridges.

Matthew

ps this is for you:

I Will Survive - Punk Cover
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

rideforever

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2010, 08:08:48 AM »
Can someone enlighten me on a point of technique ?

I am wondering about the similarities between Zazen and Vipassana ... my understanding is that in vipassana you observe what is occurring, but in Zazen aren't you trying to observe nothing ?

Are they really the same, not withstanding the open eyes (which I do anyway).

Morning Dew

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2010, 09:27:50 PM »
What ever the technique may be, what is it we are after?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2010, 10:36:55 PM »
Nothing.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Morning Dew

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2010, 10:43:04 PM »
Exactly :)

kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #33 on: December 01, 2010, 01:43:32 AM »
Can someone enlighten me on a point of technique ?

I am wondering about the similarities between Zazen and Vipassana ... my understanding is that in vipassana you observe what is occurring, but in Zazen aren't you trying to observe nothing ?

Are they really the same, not withstanding the open eyes (which I do anyway).

Zazen is really a broad term that includes all the different types of sitting meditation done in Zen traditions. This includes Koans, and specific meditation instructions like counting your breath.  I suspect that what you are referring to is Shikantaza ("Just sitting"). As far as I understand Shikantaza, Soma really captured it well in this quote:

In shikantaza there is no object at all, or rather, awareness itself is the object in a way but you make no effort to notice awareness, you are just like the sky and whatever passes through your awareness are like the clouds passing in the sky.
You notice the clouds but do not cling analyze or feel any aversion to them, and if you do cling, analyze or feel aversion you know that too. It is really vipassana but the subtlest form of vipassana because you have no objects.  Your only task is to be fully present and awake and to let the clouds come and go.

Vipassana is also a pretty broad label that includes many different styles. However, as far as I can tell, it is not Vipassana if you merely bringe awareness to something. (you may simply be practicing concentration/shamatha---something which is quite good to do!).

What makes your practice "Vipassana" is that you are seeing into at least one of the "three characteristics" that the Buddha suggested leads to liberation: (1) impermanence/change, (2) non-identification, (3) suffering.

I think it is safe to say that if you are cultivating awareness of anything, and you are seeing into one of those characteristics, then you are practicing vipassana.   :)  

With that in mind, you can see how it is possible to practice Zazen in a way that makes it Vipassana. In fact, I think the object-less approach especially lends itself to insights into "No-Self."  Its no coincidence that many Zen teachers emphasize this aspect of the practice.

I also think that certain types of "traditional" Vipassana practices can be quite similar to Zazen. For example, some vipassana teachers advise students to cultivate "choiceless awareness" in which they allow their awareness to rest spaciously, and then observe anything that comes into their awareness. This type of practice can be quite "open," and "encompassing" and feel much like shikantaza.

I hope this helps!
KN

« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 01:47:57 AM by kidnovice »
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

rideforever

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2010, 08:42:52 AM »
thanks !

rideforever

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2010, 01:22:26 PM »
The motivation for my question is that I am about to do a period of more intensive practice.  Goal 1 is to witness and release childhood trauma.  That takes priority.

It seems to me that Vipassana body scanning and more actively witnessing phenomena will release trauma, because that will arise and be witnessed.  If that works I will be a different person and then we can talk about objectless no-mind which I find relatively easy, but no-mind gets confused with childhood abandonment, hence my prioritising the trauma stuff.

There is a place in India 'Bodhi Zendo' that is £5 a day with 4+ hrs of practice a day (not too hectic Goenka - a style I think which would be received as further trauma), that I liked the look of.

I think the centre is relaxed enough to not complain if you meditate in your own way.


kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2010, 02:22:32 AM »
I think you're right that body scanning can release trauma and other "negativities" locked away in the interaction between mind and body. But for some, it can also be quite explosive, and not always pretty. Hopefully, the time you have spent cultivating a calm and quiet awareness should really help you here. You might want to consider spending some time in the beginning of your retreat, just doing what you call "objectless no-mind."  It is a valuable asset, and you mentioned that you find it relatively easy. So don't waste it! Similar to the structure of a Goenka course, you might consider spending one third of your time on that. (i.e, ten out of thirty days... or whatever # you are sitting). There is wisdom in that approach.

I hope you don't mind if I offer you a few additional suggestions. I am especially inclined since I don't think you have attended a Goenka course (right?).

It may be helpful to NOT purposefully think about the traumas that you want to "release." In my experience, if you simply bring a kind and calm awareness to every part of your body, the traumas will come up on their own. Sometimes, the traumas come up consciously, but other times you can just sense "I'm lightening my load" right now, but no "story" from your life comes up. The process just works.

Here are two facets of how the process works (in my experience):

1) Don't underestimate the power of observing pain. The mental processes that arise with pain are deeply connected to the mental processes associated with all the negativities we carry around with us. Learning to calmly work with pain can transform the deep mental patterns that shape how we deal with all difficult experiences. With that said, maintaining a sense of well being should always be your top priority. So, don't become a masochist on the cushion, but don't be afraid to challenge yourself either. Physical pain is often easier to deal with than mental pain, but can lead to even more powerful release. Sometimes the easiest way works!


2) Strive to develop a refined awareness of every tiny part of your body (though I would suggest that you only focus on the surface unless you are naturally drawn inwards). But just as importantly, be patient if you don't reach that point.  Negativities can manifest as "blind areas" on the body. In the same way that observing pain undoes the conditioning of your mind, so does observing these blind areas. The process just works. It can really help you to heal when you observe a blind area for a few minutes (before moving on). If you find nothing, just wait patiently. You are benefitting. Just keep that in mind. Also, keep in mind that when that part eventually becomes "visible" (and you are able to observe the subtle flow of energy/vibrations/sensations there) this can really lead to a powerful release. When you come to a part of the body that has those sensations, tune into them. Eventually, they will spread.

I will stop there. I wish you the best of luck whenever you go,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2010, 10:53:41 AM »
The motivation for my question is that I am about to do a period of more intensive practice.  Goal 1 is to witness and release childhood trauma.  That takes priority.

It seems to me that Vipassana body scanning and more actively witnessing phenomena will release trauma, because that will arise and be witnessed.  If that works I will be a different person and then we can talk about objectless no-mind which I find relatively easy, but no-mind gets confused with childhood abandonment, hence my prioritising the trauma stuff.

There is a place in India 'Bodhi Zendo' that is £5 a day with 4+ hrs of practice a day (not too hectic Goenka - a style I think which would be received as further trauma), that I liked the look of.

I think the centre is relaxed enough to not complain if you meditate in your own way.



rideforever,

Release of childhood trauma comes with relaxation of the bodymind. Trauma leaves certain stress related hormonal systems working in overedrive - typically the cortisol and adrenal systems. These have to calm down and it can take time.

Chasing the release of memories or making it your goal may not help release the trauma - it actually adds another major source of stress in your life. I would recommend making goal number one just to sit and be with yourself. For this purpose a basic Shamatha type meditation works best. Depending on the trauma working with the breath can be problematic in some cases but if that is not an issue then simple Shamatha as you have read about it here will do the trick.

What is needed is that the parts of your bodymind that hold the trauma become convinced that they are safe, welcomed, accepted. They control what you will remember - not your conscious efforts. These efforts need to go into making them feel totally safe.

Simple sitting and observing with equanimity does this. In an intensive practice environment it does it very well. Be sure you will have the chance to talk about anything that does come up. Some practice environments place no weight on any contents of mind that come up and will not give opportunity to talk about this. However, the places that scare you need to be befriended slowly. They are keeping their secrets for a reason: they do not believe you can cope with remembering ("Sati" in Pali - as in meditation). Sometimes a part of the picture in trauma recall is the need for a witness, another human being to validate your reaction to the trauma: "yes this was a terrible thing". So don't put yourself in a practice environment where loneliness could scare the traumatised you into not remembering.

Don't expect everything to come back. In fact don't expect anything to come back. Such an expectation may be traumatising in itself in ways you are unaware of. This is not to say that nothing will come back, nor even that you will not remember every detail. There is every opportunity to recall. It's all about putting yourself in a safe environment then just being with yourself, awake and relaxed and doing nothing. This creates the space for the recall to happen if it wants to. You can't control the process but you can control your conditions. You can create conditions conducive to recall that will happen in a way that does not result in a drastic decompensation.

Chasing memories chases them away. Making yourself open to yourself allows them back to consciousness safely.

It was trauma I did not even know about that lead to me becoming a meditator and Buddhist. It was living in a practice environment, spending a lot of time on the cushion just being, and having confidence in my surroundings that gave me the safety to recall. I still do not recall every detail but what I recall is horrific enough that I understand why. I do not chase further recall - though it does come in bits and pieces as I am ready to deal with it.

I learned the hard way that chasing memories drives them away and that the only way is to be gentle with yourself to the point where they feel safe to come back - not to haunt you, but to allow you - and them - to escape their pain forever. This does not mean that you cannot develop a firm but friendly regime of sitting to facilitate your trauma release, actually showing yourself that you are able to gently and safely be firm with yourself is good - and opposes the tendency of traumatised people to be "driven" - unconsciously by fear. Developing this positive "love myself/care for myself" attitude to practice will be beneficial.

Two final points. If you do not feel at ease, relaxed and comfortable - and able to talk openly with someone - wherever you go, then move on. Secondly, see this as the start of a process of befriending, knowing, and releasing those broken parts of you. At this point you may have no idea how deep the rabbit hole is.

When I started meditating I just knew there was a hole. When I fell into it I did not get the conditions right and spent a few years roaming some hell like places in my mind, getting nowhere with recall and making a general mess out of life. There is no need for this. Concentrate on calm relaxation, attentivness filled with equanimity - and love for yourself. Don't allow anything that arises to become a solid obstacle.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Morning Dew

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #38 on: December 02, 2010, 12:00:02 PM »
Quote
When I started meditating I just knew there was a hole. When I fell into it I did not get the conditions right and spent a few years roaming some hell like places in my mind, getting nowhere with recall and making a general mess out of life. There is no need for this. Concentrate on calm relaxation, attentivness filled with equanimity - and love for yourself. Don't allow anything that arises to become a solid obstacle.

You are a true inspiration my friend :) thank you.

rideforever

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #39 on: December 02, 2010, 05:36:57 PM »
Thanks guys, very much appreciating what you are saying.

Was just sitting and noticing a familiar dead zone on the RHS of my head, and observing it a little closer - what do you know something is there.


kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2010, 05:08:38 AM »
I know you are extremely busy, TIB, but I gotta say that when you are able to give extensive responses, I really appreciate them. Very insightful.

Your meditation instruction and Goenka's are more similar than they are different. And I'm only half kidding when I say that.   ;D  Goenka practioners would have much to learn from you if they clearly saw those similarities, and thus the trajectory they could be on.

With metta,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Morning Dew

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Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2010, 07:44:22 AM »
Quote
I know you are extremely busy, TIB, but I gotta say that when you are able to give extensive responses, I really appreciate them. Very insightful.

Hear Hear! :)

EDIT;

Maybe TIB could do monthly Damma talks (max 10 minutes) via youtube for our members here on the forum :) that would be so nice :))  but that does seek time. Such action would serve as a (well apreciated) reminder on the path. I know i would apreciate such generous addition to this Sangha :)

Just an idea of course, with busy schedule this could be difficult (but i had to try) :)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 07:50:39 AM by Che Guebuddha »

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Zazen Vs Vipassana
« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2010, 11:14:24 AM »
I know you are extremely busy, TIB, but I gotta say that when you are able to give extensive responses, I really appreciate them. Very insightful. ...

Worry not. You'll learn to see the insight in the short posts in time. ;)
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~