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Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Big Sit of 2009.

"The Big Sit" challenge from the Buddhist magazine Tricycle will start tomorrow, which I'll be doing. In fact, I've been sitting regularly the last two weeks whereas before my practice had been all too spotty for the last year. Here are some of the specifics:

1). Sit in formal meditation for 20 minutes each day: (I'm sure sitting even for only 5 minutes is in keeping with this challenge because I have found that any amount of meditation is beneficial).

2). Listen to one Dharma talk a week on (or elsewhere I would add if you don't have access to Tricycle. I would also think reading a Dharma talk once a week or a few chapters of a Buddhist book would work as well).

3)-Study Dogen’s Genjokoan, the text selected for the period: The Genjokoan is posted here--let me know if the link doesn't work and I'll post the text in its entirity in a post. Plus, if you want to keep in touch with just readers of this blog in the sangha/community that we developed during this sit then just sign up an account on The Tribe that my friend Paul has setup is called, "Commit to Sit." It's not hard to find via the search bar. Tricycle also has a group setup for, "The Big Sit" which will be beneficial because it will host Dharma talks and advice/guidance from teachers. If you're interested in it then all you have to do is sign up with them (it's free).

4). Commit to the sixteen bodhisattva precepts:
The sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts consist of the taking refuge in the three treasures (Buddha-Nature, Dharma, and Sangha), and:

The Three Pure Precepts

Not to do evil.
To cultivate good.
To help others.

The Ten Grave Precepts

Not to intentionally or maliciously kill, but to cherish all life.
Not to steal, but to respect the possessions and lifetime of others.
Not to misuse sexual energy, but to be honest and respectful in mind and action.
Not to intentionally deceive, but to speak the truth.
Not to misuse drugs or alcohol, but to keep the mind clear.
Not to speak of others’ faults, but to be understanding and sympathetic.
Not to praise oneself by criticizing others, but to overcome one’s own shortcomings.
Not to withhold spiritual or material aid, but to give it freely when needed.
Not to give vent to anger, but to seek its source.
Not to speak ill of the Three Treasures, but to cherish and uphold them.

5). Practice with others at or at a local meditation center (Or with us on Tribe!!).

6). Begin when you like. Tricycle’s staff will begin February 23.

~Peace to all beings~

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release_in_extremity said...

Thanks, James, it's great you posted all that. I'm on and have enjoyed posting and receiving nice replies in MeditationClub, so I will soon join Commit to Sit.

As for listening to Dharma talks on other websites, I enjoy Tara Brach's at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington website. She has a new one each week. They are here:
Hope you enjoy some of those!

Twisted Branch said...

In Buddhism meditation is a valuable factor of our practice. But, until we gain some insight into the true nature of suffering we will continue to experience spiritual unsatisfactoriness. I'm afraid many people are being misled into believing that meditation is the path to the cessation of suffering, when in fact the Noble Eight-fold path leads to this end. Until we realize Right-view meditation can function as an exercise in self-clinging.

They call him James Ure said...


Thanks for the link on the Dharma talks.

Twisted Branch:

I for one realize that meditation isn't the only leg of the stool. Indeed the Eight-Fold Path is the main leg of the stool.

_Eiehua said...

Thanks so much James!
Looking forward to the Dharma talks!

PeterAtLarge said...

James, you might be amused by my entry in The Buddha Diaries today, "The Worst Sit Ever." I noticed this in Tricycle, but have chosen not to participate: too much disturbance on the horizon at this moment... But good for you. I'll look forward to following your path.

Paul said...

Well I just done my first ever Zazen sit. I am so happy to share myexperiences with you and everyone else. I will be writing in Tribe every day, or at least the next morning.

Oh, and the genjokoan...

Matthew said...

Twisted branch and yadda yadda Ure:

I'm guessing that the eightfold path is mostly misunderstood (assuming that it even is a realistic path). Same with meditation. So either way, it leads nowhere. Don't take my word for it, but in my opinion we are all much too good at lying to ourselves. We have very strong barriers and ego-defense mechanisms, so what we really need is someone aware enough to knock us on our ass by being honest and assertive to us... until we become aware enough to be our own mentor.

Riverwolf, said...

Sounds like a wonderful practice. I hope it's beneficial.

elf_man said...

Hm. As I understand it, for Zen in a general sense, zazen is a sort of collapse of the eightfold path into one fundamental practice. That doesn't mean studying the path, the precepts, and such things are unimportant, of course. It just seems that Tricycle's intro doesn't really get the point. Here's a nice quote from Aitken's edition of The Gateless Barrier:

"What kind of responses do you make to family members and Dharma friends? When I used to speak of the importance of being decent to others, people would sometimes say, "Isn't it dishonest to say one thing and feel something else?" It is no more dishonest to practice decency than it is to practice zazen. Zazen is the practice of harmony at the source of responsibility. Being decent is simply the practice of harmony in a wider context." pg. 224, Case 36

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