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Switch to Forum Live View Questions for any practicing Zen Buddhists
4 years ago  ::  Jun 01, 2013 - 8:33PM #1
Summertide
Posts: 4
I've recently taken an interest in Zen Buddhism and am learning all I can about it. I don't have access to many other Buddhists where I live, so I thought maybe I could get a few of my questions answered here. I've learned the basics from online research and books, but I'd like a first-hand view of what it's like to practice Zen Buddhism.


-What initially drew you to Zen? 


-What do you like about it?


-How often do you meditate and for how long?
  

-What benefits has practicing Zen produced in your life?


-Any advice for a newbie?   



Thanks in advance!             
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4 years ago  ::  Jun 03, 2013 - 2:38AM #2
Ferretling
Posts: 259

Jun 1, 2013 -- 8:33PM, Summertide wrote:

I've recently taken an interest in Zen Buddhism and am learning all I can about it. I don't have access to many other Buddhists where I live, so I thought maybe I could get a few of my questions answered here. I've learned the basics from online research and books, but I'd like a first-hand view of what it's like to practice Zen Buddhism.


-What initially drew you to Zen?



Funny that this should be the hardest, but there was no one solitary thing that drew me. I have a friend who was Buddhist, and she helped me grasp some of the basic tenets, things like emptiness and letting go. But I knew I needed the practice to go along with the concept because they just don't work via intellect alone. I researched local temples online, various sects, and something about the Zen temple just meshed with me. So I gave it a try. They were incredibly welcoming to newcomers, and there was something about being sat down on a cushion right off that clung to me. Do first, practice first, understanding will come. Because the practice helps build understanding. Because in the West, many religions tend to be an intellectual exercise and nothing more. This was more like planting a garden. You have to just do it. It meshed with how I learned some of my best-learned lessons. It was good. Also, haiku drew me to Zen.




Jun 1, 2013 -- 8:33PM, Summertide wrote:

-What do you like about it?



The self-discipline, mental discipline it teaches. The stark simplicity of it. The complexity underneath. The way it has struck home internally the way no other religion has. The mindfulness of sitting and staring at a wall for an hour. The incredible tediousness of sitting and staring at a wall for an hour. The....


Here's the thing. It is part of my life now, and a bit beyond like or dislike, if you understand what I mean. It isn't really separate any longer, and not something I really assign "like" or "dislike" to. It simply is, and I a calmer, happier, hopefully better and nicer person for it.


Jun 1, 2013 -- 8:33PM, Summertide wrote:

-How often do you meditate and for how long?



Ideally every day, but I've been a bit lax in that since the flood in April because I currently live with my parents (thanks economy!)and lived in the basement until the flood and now have no place to meditate. (that's part of a vastly longer story.) So I'm still trying to figure out where to sit. So ideally every day, and when I do sit duting the week, it's usually 20-30 minutes. One thing you can do is start at 10-15 and work your way up, but that is really short to get in the right frame of mind. Our temple meditation I do weekly, which is two 45-minute seated sessions with a 10-minute walking session in between.
  

Jun 1, 2013 -- 8:33PM, Summertide wrote:

-What benefits has practicing Zen produced in your life?



I'm calmer, more patient, a better 'me'. things make more sense. I'm less upset by things. I laugh more. I feel more creative. I deal with people better. I feel better about myself and others. The world makes more sense.


Jun 1, 2013 -- 8:33PM, Summertide wrote:

-Any advice for a newbie?



The first bit of advice is the same one I hear my sensei give over and over. It is what the priests say over and over in talks, at tea. Sit. Just sit. If you do nothing else, meditate. Reading, studying, they have their place, but the basis for practice of Zen is meditation.. The second piece of advice I would give is to find a local temple if possible. It helps immensely to have others.





Jun 1, 2013 -- 8:33PM, Summertide wrote:

Thanks in advance!             



I wish you the best.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 03, 2013 - 7:34PM #3
Summertide
Posts: 4

Thank you so much for your answers and insight. I'm getting a better understanding of it now, hearing from someone who practices. Thank you again and many well wishes on your path!

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2013 - 12:09AM #4
Ferretling
Posts: 259

Jun 3, 2013 -- 7:34PM, Summertide wrote:


Thank you so much for your answers and insight. I'm getting a better understanding of it now, hearing from someone who practices. Thank you again and many well wishes on your path!




Many well-wishes to you as well. Hope to hear more from you!

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 24, 2013 - 3:08PM #5
nnn123
Posts: 1,552

and don't forget, there are Zen centers all over the world.



you can visit one and talk with the monks and nuns there, or even possibly with the Sensei or Roshi.



here's one list:


Zen Centers Guide

www.dharmanet.org/infowebZen.htm

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4 years ago  ::  Aug 02, 2013 - 10:05PM #6
rideronthastorm
Posts: 9,223

I havnt been a good example of zen ebcause Im in and out of it but over the past year have stuck to it more plan on going to zen sittings everyday through 2nd Life if I can.


 


one thing you can do to learn more if your not on 2nd Life is listen to WREN zen radio station its on the net they give free Dharma talks there all the time. I love it.


 


Also If your in 2nd Life which is the virtual reality world for gamers where we live at insteasd of it being a game the different religions have set up Temples tehre for us to walk our charectors too then someone can give a class or a talk through the microphone of their computers and w elisten to it and in chat we can ask qeustions and respond its cool but if you dont know how to do it or if its too much like I said check out the zen radio station on the net so.

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4 years ago  ::  Aug 02, 2013 - 10:07PM #7
rideronthastorm
Posts: 9,223

Heres the link for its wzen sorry


 


wzen.org/

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4 years ago  ::  Aug 05, 2013 - 9:21AM #8
Piobair_Paganach
Posts: 291

-What initially drew you to Zen?




I can't say. I tried several different paths and meditative practices, but this is where I found a home.

-What do you like about it?



The quietude.

-How often do you meditate and for how long?





About 30 minutes every day, but it depends upon the day (Sundays at the Zen Center may be 1:45; Monday eves 1:15 or so), and who I'm with; when my wife and I sit together, we don't sit as long.

-What benefits has practicing Zen produced in your life?



Quieting the shitstorm in my head; developing the concious chioce of which thoughts I attend to, and which I ignore. Living transparently, just as I am, and accepting the world just as it is. Greater peace & tranquility. The nascent  signs of the Four Abodes; loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.


-Any advice for a newbie? 


 


Read Hakuin's "Chant in Praise of Zazen", and practice zazen with diligence. Learn to work with the Precepts in your life. Look for a sangha.

"Do not strive to become a Buddha.
You're only concern should be, as thought follows thought, not to cling to any of them."
Dogen






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