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  "But," asked Vaccha persistently, "when one who has this emancipation of mind
(freed from self) dies, where does he go, where is he reborn?
The Buddha replied:
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→→→→ vertical line TOPIC: SOME KIND OF PLATEAU?
vertical line Posted on Mar.04.2014 @ 01:32PM EDT by Bluerocket
Hello. First, I'm glad that I could find this community. I hope that I can get the help and suggestions that I really need as a beginner.

I'm a 18 years old boy, new to ZEN meditation. I have a serious interest in eastern spiritual stuff since 13 years old so I tried some Dao and yoga practices also, until I met ZEN. :)

I practice ZEN meditation for 3 months. I started practicing 5 minutes in the morning and before going to sleep and now I've reached two sessions of 20 minutes each per day. First, I practiced in semi-lotus position and for 1 month I'm doing my meditation practices in full-lotus. I've read two books on meditation by Jon-Kabat Zinn and Katsuki Sekida.

There are few problems and things that I don't understand. I strongly need your help and would like some suggestions since I don't have any community like this in my city or anyone really interested in such things:
1) Why in ZEN practice the exhaling is made on the nose? For me the mouth exhaling it's much better since I can get a longer exhaling time.
2) For two weeks I started to experience some light knee pains and I suppose that they come from my meditation practice but I don't want to change my meditation position since the full-lotus provides me a really stable one. Is this normal? Will my knees adapt over time?
3) At the start of practicing ZEN I experienced some interesting and inspiring phenomens. But as times goes by, these experiences start to appear seldom. Is my non-beginner mind starting to be infatuated and expecting too much? What's the problem?
4) I don't find puting my palms (right over left) and the thumbs touched togheter, a comfortable position for my hands. Any suggestions?
5) I noticed a quantity attitude instead of a quality one, wandering when will those 20 minutes end-up. It really bothers me as my meditation sessions's quality start to decrease drastically. My mind is wandering all over the places like never before and my breathing concentration means nearly nothing. This is the main reason why I started this topic. Any suggestions, opinions?

Thank you very much. I would really appreciate your help :)
Go to Latest Reply   Reply to this Topic   Email Bluerocket
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Reply from Riverstone
Mar.04.2014
03:55PM EDT 
vertical line You are going to get a lot off oddball responses from here. Let me tell you I have really come to appreciate the people on here but at times it seems like sitting at the Mad Hatters table in the Wonderland stories. The reason for this is that a computer forum necessitates language to communicate and we are communicating about a non-dual, non-conceptual practice, which is simply not possible to do with a dual/conceptual language. We get close but then we get goofy sounding. It took me a long time to allow people to have their conceptual description of their experience.

Now then: Posture plagues many people and bodily discomfort as well. I would try not to be overly ambitious and try short stints, get your body time to get used to it. Research yoga postures to take before sitting that will ease your sit.

Don't think of gaining something out of Zen, there is nothing to gain that you don't already have. You will hear talk of no mind, no thought, and so on. I personally like "no frame of reference", these things we are saying are conceptual. The only way to understand is to do. You will not understand this by using the mind or thinking, but by following the ordinary instructions in Zen. Bodhidarma says don't use mind to understand reality and then Sazuki roshi turns around and says something about ordinary mind. They are saying the same thing but again we are limited by conceptual language. Each of is has our unique attachments and a teacher is helpful in that regard. But if you follow the simplest Zen instructions and do not overly think it, I consider individual practice useful,m until and if you have Kensho, then you might be tempted to make up all sorts of ideas. It is hard to let go of Kensho and I suspect religions are built around this glimpse into awakening. If or when you have a glimpse let it go, the practice is simple, but a teachers instruction is very helpful. Zen is always cradling your experience and releasing it at the same time. You are studying yourself and through this you find no self.
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Reply from so_teh
Mar.04.2014
05:11PM EDT 
Email so_teh
vertical line Hi there, I'm Jordan. When I started posting here at zenguide I was 18 years old. Now 24. At 15 years old I realized-I realized nothing. So, I took it upon myself to accept things as it is and sit.

What I did at the beginning of practice, when I was first starting out, I read a few books on Zazen rules and the way it is suppose to be done, and I tried to follow the guidelines pretty close for the first couple of years I was sitting. Now, I have memorized the rules and kind of sit in my own fashion while still keeping to the essential flow of Zazen. I have never actually joined a Zen Sangha.

As long as you see yourself, see your nature, know your human and know your capable [of compassion], you'll do good.
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155921
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Reply from floating_a
Mar.04.2014
06:11PM EDT 
vertical line Hi friend

Welcome to zenguide.

Look for a teacher if you can. Explore it until the Truth receives you _/\_

Now for some layman opinions :)

1) Why in ZEN practice the exhaling is made on the nose? For me the mouth exhaling it's much better since I can get a longer exhaling time.

I was advised that the breath through the nose is a more subtle one and more calming for the mind. I has always thought that the breath through the nose is a deeper one. Regardless my opinion is keep your breath natural. Relax whilst maintaining a diligent posture, let the breath come and go naturally. There is no need to chase a longer or shorter exhalation time imho.

2) For two weeks I started to experience some light knee pains and I suppose that they come from my meditation practice but I don't want to change my meditation position since the full-lotus provides me a really stable one. Is this normal? Will my knees adapt over time?

I asked someone who knows about lotus more and he said if after you get up and done some light stretches and there is still pain, that is not so wise. If there's discomfort during the sit, that can be tolerated as we all work within our discomforts there (physical etc) but you need to assess if it is getting worse and don't push it - be mindful of your body and take care of your body too. Good yoga teachers can also give instruction on the lotus and exercises to help you get into it or a local Zen center.

3) At the start of practicing ZEN I experienced some interesting and inspiring phenomens. But as times goes by, these experiences start to appear seldom. Is my non-beginner mind starting to be infatuated and expecting too much? What's the problem?

Expect nothing. the point of Zen practice is not imho experiences or funny things, it's the realisation and then actualisation of Truth. What is Truth? That is a question for a Zen student indeed,

If you verse yourself in Buddhism, which is the basis of Zen practice itself, it is the liberation from dukkha. It is the actualisation of the Eightfold Path - it is not momentary experiences that come and go. Any or all experiences can inform us to whatever degree they do, but they are never the Truth itself imho.

4) I don't find puting my palms (right over left) and the thumbs touched togheter, a comfortable position for my hands. Any suggestions?

Google Zen mudras, but if you don't like these, you can also Google Buddhist mudras I suppose. :)

5) I noticed a quantity attitude instead of a quality one, wandering when will those 20 minutes end-up. It really bothers me as my meditation sessions's quality start to decrease drastically. My mind is wandering all over the places like never before and my breathing concentration means nearly nothing. This is the main reason why I started this topic. Any suggestions, opinions?

Yes of course! That means you're on track. I laugh here. It is all good. Noone sits down and immediately is all Zen like, whatever that means :) THIS is why it is called practice. An old friend once gave excellent advice to me and many others - good sit, bad sit, fearful sit, exciting sit, boring sit - still, SIT

This is not meant to say you do not pay effort, you do. If your practice is to maintain awareness of the breath then each time your mind wanders off, and you come back to that awareness, you have exercised your muscle. Persistence counts, determination matters.

Beyond and despite all the doubts, soldier on, soldier. For once you step on this path, there is really no going back IMO.

Best wishes,
Floating Abu
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155923
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Reply from urgent
Mar.04.2014
06:45PM EDT 
Email urgent
vertical line free forest
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155928
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Reply from floating_a
Mar.04.2014
07:00PM EDT 
vertical line Let breath in through your nose and let it go down to your lower abdomen; then let all the breath out through your nose, slowly. Repeat this breathing. When you have proper physical posture, your breath goes in and out very naturally from you nose to your lower abdomen, without stopping on the way.

...Zazen is exactly peace, simple peace. There is nothing around zazen to touch it. Zazen is to realize exactly who you are. That's all you have to do.

Whatever you experience, forget it. All you have to do is carry it forever, just like the water of the Ganges River, just flowing. That is really great power, supporting your life, behind your life. You don't see it, but it's really a great help. It's spiritual security.

But don't worry about this; don't hang on to it. All you have to do is just carry your zazen. Zen Master Dogen said, "This experience should be shared not only with your friends, but with all sentient beings." Whatever you can have, whatever you can do, carry it with all sentient beings. That is a great practice for us. That is spiritual security. That is deepening your life.

http://www.ashlandzencenter.org/zen-practice/art-of-zazen/
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155930
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Reply from floating_a
Mar.04.2014
07:02PM EDT 
vertical line Breathing

Attention in Zen meditation concentrates on breath and body. In this abdominal breathing is of major significance. It connects body and mind and helps to explore the deeper levels of existence. Respiration through the nose down to the diaphragm centers and relaxes the mind. During expiration the slow extended length of the breath is particularly supportive. With each out-breath there is a sense of “letting go”, of breathing without any goal. One should also not manipulate the breath. It should be silent, slow and relaxed.

http://www.bodhizendo.org/zazen.htm#Breath

Etc

From googling some of these related topics

Best wishes :)
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155931
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Reply from justin
Mar.04.2014
10:53PM EDT 
Email justin
vertical line I think everyone experiences discomfort at first this will get easier.

I have difficulty with my knees also but I just kinda adjust my form to relieve any completely obvious pain, and then at times use the discomfort as a focus to the meditation (doesn't last long because as soon as you look at it it dissapeares it is just sensation

the restlessness you feel is good as it is your brain filtering through all the stuff it has accumulated during your life. this to will pass. if you are concerned take a look behind the curtain of the projector showing you the movie of your thoughts. you will see there is no one there! these thoughts just come and go just observe them as they do notice that then drop it.

the breathing thing, I breath out through my nose and in my nose but at first (before I learnt to calm myself) I breathed out through the mouth because it felt better. I always have left over right with my hands and I meditate left leg over right. it is no it important which way you do it just sit. the lotus half lotus are just ways to maximize the potential balance whilst maximizing potential bodily relaxation. (minimal effort).

above all as others said have no conception of what it is you want to do, just sit. you are already there !!

good luck
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155932
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Reply from leoj99
Mar.04.2014
11:36PM EDT 
vertical line You should start it right. Otherwise you just spend your time trying this and that. The method of zazen has been tested and proven effective if done right.

1. You breath in and breath out only through the nose. Breath in and out as naturally as possible. You should start counting breath in -1, breath out--2, and up to 10.. then start to one again and again. If you lose count start with 1 again. When you can do it without losing count for sometime you can count the breath out 1, 2, 3... ... 10, then back to one.
When you master that.. just breath awareness.

2. Your full-lotus position is the most ideal and stable position. You are young and you can do it. Don't bother with the pains they will go away in time... don't be afraid. You can increase to 25 minutes in due time and do a 5 minute kinkin.. or walking meditation.

3. Practicing zazen will effect a shift in consciousness and you may experience some strange phenomena. You may experience some joy or happiness or discomfort or whatever. But these are only called makyos in zen. Do not be attached to it. Just forget them and don't cling to them or you may think you have an enlightenement experience. They are not. No matter you feel so good about it just ignore them.

4. Putting your palms in mudra position just above you navel is very important. It is said that the energy or chi should flow in the proper position of the mudra. You should with half open eyes slight gaze on the wall about 45 degrees below your eye level.

5. The above methods should tame your monkey mind and it is important that you do it property specially when you are starting. You would adopt to it in due time. Just take patience.


vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155933
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Reply from justin
Mar.05.2014
12:03AM EDT 
Email justin
vertical line Quote: "You should start it right. Otherwise you just spend your time trying this and that. The method of zazen has been tested and proven effective if done right.

1. You breath in and breath out only through the nose. Breath in and out as naturally as possible. You should start counting breath in -1, breath out--2, and up to 10.. then start to one again and again. If you lose count start with 1 again. When you can do it without losing count for sometime you can count the breath out 1, 2, 3... ... 10, then back to one.
When you master that.. just breath awareness.

2. Your full-lotus position is the most ideal and stable position. You are young and you can do it. Don't bother with the pains they will go away in time... don't be afraid. You can increase to 25 minutes in due time and do a 5 minute kinkin.. or walking meditation.

3. Practicing zazen will effect a shift in consciousness and you may experience some strange phenomena. You may experience some joy or happiness or discomfort or whatever. But these are only called makyos in zen. Do not be attached to it. Just forget them and don't cling to them or you may think you have an enlightenement experience. They are not. No matter you feel so good about it just ignore them.

4. Putting your palms in mudra position just above you navel is very important. It is said that the energy or chi should flow in the proper position of the mudra. You should with half open eyes slight gaze on the wall about 45 degrees below your eye level.

5. The above methods should tame your monkey mind and it is important that you do it property specially when you are starting. You would adopt to it in due time. Just take patience.


"


who are you ? and what have you done with Leo ????

vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155934
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Reply from justin
Mar.05.2014
12:04AM EDT 
Email justin
vertical line :)

vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155935
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Reply from justin
Mar.05.2014
12:13AM EDT 
Email justin
vertical line attach attach !!! keep think am I doing this right
oh no I must force the lotus position or I will never reach navana
was that a one or a two ?
oh crap
is my back straight ? maybe I should put a mirror here so I can take a peek every now and then.
is this monkey mind or normal mind ?
oh no this is so difficult

or I could just sit comfortably and discover mind :) .

i could also pay attention to everything i do or think or feel but tgat is just to easy isnt it ?

surely there must be more rules to this !!

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Reply from leoj99
Mar.05.2014
12:13AM EDT 
vertical line Who me? I am leoj99...LOL
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Reply from justin
Mar.05.2014
12:15AM EDT 
Email justin
vertical line Quote: "Who me? I am leoj99...LOL "

:)
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Reply from Avisitor
Mar.06.2014
06:39PM EDT 
Email Avisitor
vertical line Plateau?
It is a journey. And along the way, there are a few stops.

The knee discomfort is universal. Everyone has some degree of discomfort.
Breathe at the nose or mouth or ears or whatever.
Choose and then follow the task ... practice.
Don't get caught up on what you have experienced or not experienced.
You have everything already. Like fish not knowing they swim in an ocean, when they finally realize it ... nothing has changed.
It was always there.
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155945
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Reply from leoj99
Mar.06.2014
11:09PM EDT 
vertical line Quote: "Plateau?
It is a journey. And along the way, there are a few stops.

The knee discomfort is universal. Everyone has some degree of discomfort.
Breathe at the nose or mouth or ears or whatever.
Choose and then follow the task ... practice.
Don't get caught up on what you have experienced or not experienced.
You have everything already. Like fish not knowing they swim in an ocean, when they finally realize it ... nothing has changed.
It was always there.
"
.........

This must be one of the oddball responses they are talking about...LOL..

If it is a journey .. you start and move to  your destination.  You travel a distance.. How can it be a journey when you just face the wall all the time.. a plateau is more appropriate since a wall is like a level place.. nothing happening, no movement, nothing exciting...LOL..

So how can you breathe with  your ears or whatever...LOL

And a fish not knowing it is swimming in an ocean, and then the fish realize it.. nothing has changed...LOL..

The greatest oddball of all..LOL>..LOL
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155946
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Reply from justin
Mar.07.2014
12:46AM EDT 
Email justin
vertical line Quote: "Quote: "Plateau?
It is a journey. And along the way, there are a few stops.

The knee discomfort is universal. Everyone has some degree of discomfort.
Breathe at the nose or mouth or ears or whatever.
Choose and then follow the task ... practice.
Don't get caught up on what you have experienced or not experienced.
You have everything already. Like fish not knowing they swim in an ocean, when they finally realize it ... nothing has changed.
It was always there.
"
.........

This must be one of the oddball responses they are talking about...LOL..

If it is a journey .. you start and move to  your destination.  You travel a distance.. How can it be a journey when you just face the wall all the time.. a plateau is more appropriate since a wall is like a level place.. nothing happening, no movement, nothing exciting...LOL..

So how can you breathe with  your ears or whatever...LOL

And a fish not knowing it is swimming in an ocean, and then the fish realize it.. nothing has changed...LOL..

The greatest oddball of all..LOL>..LOL
"
.........

haha thats pretty funny,
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155947
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Reply from Avisitor
Mar.07.2014
08:27PM EDT 
Email Avisitor
vertical line The journey is your life. It doesn't necessarily mean you are moving along.
If you wish to stay entangled in your web of concepts and frames or reference then you will go through this many many lifetimes.
But, it is as you wished it to be ... hahahaha
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155949
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Reply from leoj99
Mar.08.2014
12:58AM EDT 
vertical line Why is life a journey... is it from birth to death.. cycle by cycle...lol..

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Reply from Avisitor
Mar.08.2014
03:40PM EDT 
Email Avisitor
vertical line Quote: "Why is life a journey... is it from birth to death.. cycle by cycle...lol..



"
.........

Okay, okay, for you life is not a journey.
You are born and you die.
Nothing in between (your ears ... hahahaha ... joke).
See, everything you wanted .... hahahaha
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155954
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Reply from leoj99
Mar.13.2014
03:29AM EDT 
vertical line So who is doing the journey... You???...LOL
vertical line Quote & Reply   Post Reply 155968
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