Tuesday, September 30, 2008

stuffed zafu

I had bought a buckwheat hull stuffed zafu. Thought it was great compared to the sofa cushion I was sitting on. Turns out it was not so great. Too short. Too conforming. In half lotus my left thigh bore down on my right foot and cut off circulation. I stuffed the zafu this last weekend with some synthetic doll-stuffing (in addition to the hull already in it). It is much better now.

I think, at a minimum, a zafu should be at least as thick as your thigh when you are sitting on it.


Monday, September 29, 2008

"Words, Words, Words. I'm so sick of words" {My Fair Lady}

I was reading some translation of an old Chinese Zen {Ch'an} patriach last night and wondered how much they sat and what they had to say about sitting.

What get's captured of the patriarchs, and what most people focus on is the words of buddhism. But buddhism, I think, is not in words. It's in action, and mostly in sitting. Wouldn't it have been great if every patriarch/matriarch left a record of their sitting also!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ku Shu Metsu Do - Four Noble Truths

From the heart sutra
ku shuu metsu dou

The Four Noble Truths. From Buddha's first discourse. It hinges/focuses on suffering {duhhka / duhkha}

Duhhka is known as one of the three marks of existence - These three marks of existence—duhhka (the awareness of pain), anicca (the awareness of the fleeting, momentary nature of experience), and anatta (the awareness that we are identified with a separate self, which is ultimately not real)—are in fact marks of relative, manifest experience, the deep contemplation of which can reveal the absolute, unmanifest Reality of this and every moment.


In the above it is interesting that it is translated as the awareness of pain. The implication seems that pain itself is not a mark of existence, but rather awareness of pain.

Note also that they are qualified as the marks of relative experience. They are not absolute reality. Letting go of them (their ceasing to be present in my life) does not mean "I" no longer exist, but that "I" experience the absolute reality of reality. ... I guess.

"This is the term I’ve chosen to translate the Pali dukkha. It’s a difficult concept; its literal meaning is “pain”, and if it’s used in speaking of ordinary events, that’s what it means: “the man was shot by an arrow and experienced dukkha“. But when the Buddha speaks of the truth of dukkha, the cause of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha, he is speaking of something much more complex and wide-ranging than simple physical pain. He’s speaking of the ultimate unsatisfactoriness of our existence in an impermanent world—regret, despair, frustration, the folly of ambition, human frailty, the vanity of pride. We’ll be spending a good deal of time throughout the course exploring the various applications of the term dukkha.


Pain: dukkha. The basic everyday meaning of the word dukkha as a noun is "pain" as opposed to "pleasure" (sukha). These, with neither-dukkha-nor-sukha, are the three kinds of feeling (vedanā) (e.g., S iv 232). S v 209-10 explains dukkha vedanā as pain (dukkha) and unhappiness (domanassa), i.e., bodily and mental dukkha. This shows that the primary sense of dukkha, when used as a noun, is physical "pain," but then its meaning is extended to include mental pain, unhappiness. The same spread of meaning is seen in the English word "pain," for example in the phrase, "the pleasures and pains of life."

Painful: dukkha as an adjective refers to things which are not (in most cases) themselves forms of mental or physical pain, but which are experienced in ways which bring mental or physical pain. When it is said "birth is painful" etc, the word dukkha agrees in number and gender with what it is applied to, so is an adjective. The most usual translation "is suffering" does not convey this. Birth is not a form of "suffering," nor is it carrying out the action of "suffering," as in the use of the word in "he is suffering."