Rinzai Zen and Physical Practice

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ushi
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Rinzai Zen and Physical Practice

Post by ushi » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:02 am

Hi friends! I'm relatively new to Rinzai Zen; I began studying in the lineage of Joshu Sasaki Roshi and am preparing for my first sesshin. I understand that Rinzai zen specifically is both a mind and body tradition. I have not been terribly physically active in the past and am working to get my mind more into and unified with my body in life outside of meditation (and also in meditation, of course!). Do any of you have recommendations or suggestions of what kind of physical activity to work with?

Thank you for your time!

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Anders
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Re: Rinzai Zen and Physical Practice

Post by Anders » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:47 pm

Ime the onus is less on physical fitness and more on connection with the body. Typical meditation practice proceeds much the way mundane body-mind relationships go - that there is a mind homunculus lodged somewhere in our brain area directing the body engaging with an outside environment.

The lessons I've taken from rinzai practice is that embodying practice does not proceed from the headspace mind applying a method to the body, but of the practice being enacted from the body itself, so to speak. From a trust that the body (and the senses) has a mind and intelligence of its own that is larger than the "eye of sauron" homunculus of headspace that we tend to take as the governing principle of our existence and mind.

If that sounds weird, then take heart that it was totally alien to me when I started out as someone very much addicted to headspace and little sense of the intimate interplay between body and mind. And what I am saying here is probably still quite off as it is just my own digestive impression.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Anders
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Re: Rinzai Zen and Physical Practice

Post by Anders » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:59 pm

But really I think the best way to learn all this is by osmosis, exposure to adepts, getting the feel for how they move and operate. What you can pick up from adepts with the senses is often more instructive than what you can pick up from explanations and understandings.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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passel
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Re: Rinzai Zen and Physical Practice

Post by passel » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:08 pm

Yardwork is good. Walking. Picking up heavy things and putting them down. Keep your center of gravity low, don't be precious about it but pay attention. You would probably get some hot tips by going to zenembodiment.com and poking around, looking especially for "tanden". Meido's book of course. Zazen is the premier physical practice in Rinzai Zen though. Where is the sesshin? (I'm a Sasaki student.)
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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passel
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Re: Rinzai Zen and Physical Practice

Post by passel » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:16 pm

Nm- I just looked at your "greeting" post- you're probably in GJ with Seido? You're in good hands, just trust the process. He knows the forms, those will be your primary teachers. Just stick to the schedule, and cue off of those practitioners senior to you, you don't really need to do more than that. Adequate is better than perfect. Goenka is a good foundation. No real reason to make a distinction between anapanasati and zazen unless you are doing anapana in an overly tight or artificially restricted and conceptualized way. Youtube Shinzen Young's talks, poke around for what seems relevant to your situation (if you're unclear of the connection, Wikipedia him). Glad you're doing sesshin- your picture shows that your posture is sound, though you could maybe stand to loosen up a bit. Good luck!
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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ushi
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Re: Rinzai Zen and Physical Practice

Post by ushi » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:02 am

Passel, you're right. I am studying with Seido in Grand Junction. It's really amazing to have a real-life teacher, and I appreciate him very much!

I will explore the zenembodiment site, thanks for the recommendation. Corey posts regular in some Facebook groups I read, so I am also quite interested in what he has to say. I've read a bit of Shinzen Young's work and will go further in that direction.

Anders, I really appreciate your description of an "eye of Sauron" thing going on, that's almost exactly how I feel consciousness at this moment. I will continue to explore and see what happens.

I'm still quite nervous about sixteen 25-minute sittings a day, but I suppose like so many things the best way to do it, is to do it!

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