To breath or not to breath

Greg_the_poet
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To breath or not to breath

Post by Greg_the_poet » Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:39 am

"During Zazen our mind always follows our breathing." Suzuki Roshi

"The practice of true reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection." Hongzhi

"Concentrate on posture and breathing." Taisen Deshimaru

"Do nothing at all, this is the way to study Zen." Keizan Jokin

"If we take care of the breath, internal physical conditions work pretty well." Katagiri Roshi

"There is no form (of meditation) that gives greater spiritual comfort, and deeper understanding than serene reflection meditation as far as I'm concerned." P.T.N.H Jiyu-Kennet

"When we sit in Zazen we pay attention to our breathing." Norman Fischer

"In Zazen we don't do anything with our mind, we don't count breath, we don't watch breath." Shohaku Okumura

Each of these statements seem to contradict each other. Quotes 1,3,5, and 7 to me is more like Anapanasati. Quotes 2,4,6 and 8 are shikantaza.

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dzogchungpa
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by dzogchungpa » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:09 am

I vote for not to breath.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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randomseb
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by randomseb » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:31 am

Both: Serene Reflection with a side order of breath Samatha
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kirtu
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by kirtu » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:03 am

Let us know if you can do shikantaza without breathing.

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"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
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ForShariputra
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by ForShariputra » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:28 am

To cease breath and yet still alive.....that would be really nice :applause: :smile:

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Kaccāni
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by Kaccāni » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:55 am

Not cease breath. Will make the body dead. Only cease breathing!

If, like Suzuki says, mind *follows* breathing, it is not causing it, so you are not (transitively) breathing. Merely observing breath. Deshimaru observes both breath and posture. Neat trick. Calms the mind quick. Try breath and the wall. Or breath and your little toe. Or breath and an itch.
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kirtu
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by kirtu » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:33 am

Gwenn Dana wrote:Not cease breath. Will make the body dead. Only cease breathing!
Shikantaza abandons breathing. Nonetheless, one cannot not breath and sit shikantaza.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Kaccāni
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by Kaccāni » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:48 am

The breath is interesting in that it easily allows two perspectives of the same phenomenon: One of a doer and one of an observer of something that is happening.

I see no need to mystify more into it.

Try some yoga poses without ever interfering with your breath :)
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seeker242
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by seeker242 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:03 pm

Each of these statements seem to contradict each other
I don't think so as not all of them are describing shikantaza style practice IMO. Some teachers don't start people out doing shikantaza right away as it's considered, by some, a more advanced practice. Some teachers start people out doing simple breath counting or following. AKA Susokukan or Zuisokukan. Although, all of them fall under the umbrella of "zazen". As far as what to practice, the teacher should know what is best for each person in particular.
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garudha
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by garudha » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:05 pm

Gwenn Dana wrote:The breath is interesting in that it easily allows two perspectives of the same phenomenon: One of a doer and one of an observer of something that is happening.

I see no need to mystify more into it.

Try some yoga poses without ever interfering with your breath :)
Excuse me; an ability to switch between two perspectives, vis-a-vis the observer & the observed, seems very mysterious to me.

Yes, I agree there is no need to further mystify such remarkable ability.

Please do share with us if you're able to switch, at will, between perspectives of (a.) the observer & (b.) the observed.

In particular I'm intrigued as to what exactly could be observed when you yourself identify as the observed (or in your words "something that is happening").

If I misunderstand I do hope you'll be kind enough to correct me before we go any further.

Thank You for your reply (if any) :smile:

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Kaccāni
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by Kaccāni » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:07 pm

garudha wrote:
Gwenn Dana wrote:two perspectives of the same phenomenon: One of a doer and one of an observer of something that is happening.
two perspectives, ... the observer & the observed, seems very mysterious to me.
Not quite the same. The perspective is neither observer nor the observed. But there are two perspectives of one phenomenon: breathing.

In one case breathing can be observed as something that is actively done (inhale, exhale).
In the other case breathing can be observed as something that the body does on its own, without interfering.

There are not many bodily functions that allow this change of perspective that easily. When watching the heart beat, actively beating it is quite tricky. When watching the hand move, becoming a non-doer is also tricky (although that awareness is quite common in tai chi. You envision the result, and the body moves there on its own. But that also takes a ton of practice.)

Thus observing breathing and not trying to interfere with it, but rather let the body do it alone, can serve as a practice of non-attachment, which is readily available.

Not making a difference between the observer and the observed, as in transcending "observation", is yet another, different perspective. The perspective between an aware observer, and the world expressing itself in awareness. (We had that "there is no soul" debate, no need to refresh it here IMHO.)

Hope that answers the questions
Gwenn
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Hieros Gamos
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by Hieros Gamos » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:11 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:I vote for not to breath.
You really are quite naughty. :stirthepot:

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garudha
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by garudha » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:57 pm

Gwenn Dana wrote: Not making a difference between the observer and the observed, as in transcending "observation", is yet another, different perspective. The perspective between an aware observer, and the world expressing itself in awareness. (We had that "there is no soul" debate, no need to refresh it here IMHO.)

Hope that answers the questions
Gwenn
Yes, thanks for putting my wrongful enquiry right.

However, you went onto make a statement about transcendence which I perceive as fallacious.

Specifically; You introduce your statement by saying (I paraphrase) 'No difference is made between observer and the observed'.

You then state (in or during this "perspective") there is [1] an aware observer and [2] the world expressing itself in awareness.

So if we take a human being who has reported witnessing such transcendent experience as you claim occurs; and we ask them the following question, please consider their reply...
Question: Which of the following is is true:

Option 1. During the transcendent expedience the perspective of the witness is without difference between observer and the observed.
Option 2. During the transcendent expedience the perspective of the witness is observing both an aware observer [ii] and the world [iii] expressing itself.


The first option implies dissolution of subject and object. This necessarily means that either [1a] the witness (observer) has ceased to exist, or, [1b] only the witness (observer) exists.

The second option implies three articles; witness [ii] observer [iii] world... If you wish to discuss this (Option 2), please feel free, I myself have nothing to say about it.

The real follow-on question (to this scenario involving a question), I feel, is in regards to Option 1. Here we find a paradoxical situation (dissolution of witness & witnessed) with the following possible attributes...

[1a] the witness (observer) has ceased to exist. How can such transcendence be reported if there is no witness (observer)?
[1b] only the witness (observer) exists. If only the witness (observer) exists -then is this not simply 100% unawareness of the phenomenal world i.e observable phenomena- (and) therefore "transcendent experience" is simply a misunderstanding ?

Can this be explained ?
Do these questions have answers?
Last edited by garudha on Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kaccāni
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by Kaccāni » Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:30 pm

That paraphrase is not appropriate.

As I said, I am not going to engage in that part of the debate, for one it is off topic, two it has been already discussed, three the discussion can not be brought to an end because words will fail to accompish that. I suggest reading some koans, for clarification.

Best wishes
Gwenn
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randomseb
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by randomseb » Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:52 pm

I saw that Samatha is suggested as a practice along side Serene Meditation on some Soto monastery's website some time a few months ago, which makes some amount of sense, as Samatha helps develop single-pointed concentration, and then if you take away that single-point, what is left?
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LastLegend
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by LastLegend » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:09 pm

Gwenn Dana wrote:
garudha wrote:
Gwenn Dana wrote:two perspectives of the same phenomenon: One of a doer and one of an observer of something that is happening.
two perspectives, ... the observer & the observed, seems very mysterious to me.
Not quite the same. The perspective is neither observer nor the observed. But there are two perspectives of one phenomenon: breathing.

In one case breathing can be observed as something that is actively done (inhale, exhale).
In the other case breathing can be observed as something that the body does on its own, without interfering.

There are not many bodily functions that allow this change of perspective that easily. When watching the heart beat, actively beating it is quite tricky. When watching the hand move, becoming a non-doer is also tricky (although that awareness is quite common in tai chi. You envision the result, and the body moves there on its own. But that also takes a ton of practice.)

Thus observing breathing and not trying to interfere with it, but rather let the body do it alone, can serve as a practice of non-attachment, which is readily available.

Not making a difference between the observer and the observed, as in transcending "observation", is yet another, different perspective. The perspective between an aware observer, and the world expressing itself in awareness. (We had that "there is no soul" debate, no need to refresh it here IMHO.)

Hope that answers the questions
Gwenn
I could be talking out of my a, but it's not tricky. Shttt if you want to breathe, then breathe. Want to not breathe, then not breathe. What's the big deal? Cut the "trying and not trying at the same time" nonsense. It's do or don't and let it be whatever that temporary state is. You need a whack from Linjii. :mrgreen:
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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garudha
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by garudha » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:36 pm

Gwenn Dana wrote:That paraphrase is not appropriate.

As I said, I am not going to engage in that part of the debate, for one it is off topic, two it has been already discussed, three the discussion can not be brought to an end because words will fail to accompish that. I suggest reading some koans, for clarification.

Best wishes
Gwenn
I see no need for koans. The answer is easily put into words.
Perhaps you read otherwise - in the upanishads - but Buddha states "no self exists".
Therefore any distinction between a supposed "observer" and "observed" is simply an illusion.
Some will say; "ignorance is that which is actually existing" ... but I ask; show me where Buddha said that ignorance is actually existing.

The view that "ignorance is existing" could be called the "ignorant view".

Why?

That which is unborn is not existing, That which is unborn has never existed, and That which is unborn never will exist.

Attention Gwenn Dana: The Buddha was careful to tell us that No Self could be apprehended. However, you keep implying, on this forum, that a self exists via a notion of awareness. I object to this spread of misinformation and will counter your erroneous philosophy whenever you give me valid reason to do so.

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Kaccāni
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by Kaccāni » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:29 pm

garudha wrote:However, you keep implying, on this forum, that a self exists via a notion of awareness.
You have been interpreting that into what I was saying for quite some time now. Time to get over it.
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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by DGA » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:52 pm

Overall: Keep breathing. Your teacher may have some specific instructions for you re: breathing exercises.

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Re: To breath or not to breath

Post by DGA » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:53 pm

Greg_the_poet wrote:"During Zazen our mind always follows our breathing." Suzuki Roshi

"The practice of true reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection." Hongzhi

"Concentrate on posture and breathing." Taisen Deshimaru

"Do nothing at all, this is the way to study Zen." Keizan Jokin

"If we take care of the breath, internal physical conditions work pretty well." Katagiri Roshi

"There is no form (of meditation) that gives greater spiritual comfort, and deeper understanding than serene reflection meditation as far as I'm concerned." P.T.N.H Jiyu-Kennet

"When we sit in Zazen we pay attention to our breathing." Norman Fischer

"In Zazen we don't do anything with our mind, we don't count breath, we don't watch breath." Shohaku Okumura

Each of these statements seem to contradict each other. Quotes 1,3,5, and 7 to me is more like Anapanasati. Quotes 2,4,6 and 8 are shikantaza.
Are you saying that contemporary or near-contemporary Zen teachers disagree with each other, or present the Dharma differently from each other?

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