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ordinary_mind Below are 10 entries, after skipping 10 most recent ones in the "ordinary_mind" journal:

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October 28th, 2003
10:40 am


Sitting... Sitting... Sitting...
Boy I tell ya -- lot of resistance.

I was in such a good space recently, then I stopped sitting and now all the confusion and doubt and resentment and judgement and BLAH is back.

But... I'm sitting. So... patience, grasshoppa...

And Emily -- how are we doing on day one? :D

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: Various Artists - William Orbit / Ogive

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October 22nd, 2003
04:09 pm


I received the following today, in a mail from a christian person I speak with, via email. I am struggling to response in a manner that doesn't disrespect his beliefs whilst also not accepting his image of buddhists as satan's product.

Answers (on a postcard please!)?

Hey Sally,

To put things directly, since you and I have always
talked pretty directly on these things, wodan, loki,
and buddhism all have a single point of origin:
Satan's attempts to divert man from coming to know the
God that created him. When Satan rebelled against
God's authority, and failed to usurp His throne, his
next step from the beginning was to turn his attacks
on mankind and seek to drive a wedge between God and
His beloved creation, man. Christ came to die to
restore the relationship between God and man, erasing
in God's justice man's breach of God's laws for His


Current Mood: pensivepensive

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October 15th, 2003
04:01 pm


I wrote part of this entry in my lj last month, but it still seems appropriate (although it has some zmj, I hope it doesn't have too much zmj). I think that Tom's post abt practice being a garden is apt--the same image is used in the following conversation between Nan-yueh and his pupil, Ma-tsu. I believe that the short conversation between Nan-yueh and Ma-tsu sums everything there is no know conceptually abt zen; the task left is realization.

Why sit?

Gen asked this recently. I've had an answer in my head for awhile and I want to put it down in writing. Regular, steady sitting effectively elicits self-centered thinking. The simple instructions of sitting create a space to examine our self-centered thought. We resist not moving. We resist the boredom of sitting by spinning fantasies, judgments, memories, and worries. Consistently labeling this thinking wears these thoughts down over time. And, of course, it is our self-centered thinking--our resistance to life--that causes all our suffering. In the end, there is just the experience of sitting on the zafu--nothing special.

The following mondo (questions and answers) is one of my favorites.

Master Nan-yueh and his pupil, Ma-tsuCollapse )

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October 13th, 2003
08:19 pm


To try.
I just got into an argument with ourborous over some zen things I was asking. He said many things, many good things which I responded to, and asked more questions, both on my journal and here.

But I was getting upset. The more we talked the more this tension built in me. I got frustrated and confused and really wasn't listening.

I snapped at him in a comment, and after I did I stopped and asked myself, "WHY am I mad at him? I asked for this right?"

The truth of it is that I really wasn't mad at him at all. I'm mad at myself for not being good enough. That's nobodys fault really but I've been scrabbling so hard lately at trying to be better, and change and be different. Am I so unhappy with the way I am that I should fight so hard?

I don't honestly know. I've been too busy trying to change to take a look.



I wrote a post in my personal journal about how I needed to get off the hamster wheel of MUST CHANGE for a while and just relax and be. That is my mission at the moment. I understand that I asked for advice, but I need to train myself not to do that if I don't have the energy to properly take the advice.

So for a while, your village newbie will be here, but silent as she watches something other than all you wise people outside a while. I am going to keep reading the forum for the sake of learning, but not for the mythical magical key of Amber changing.

I don't need one. Or if I do, I don't know it for sure. I just assumed. Bad Amber.


Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: Newsboys: Be Still

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04:34 pm


Your Life is a Garden
Ok, I had posted this as a response on "why we sit" but LJ ate that (thank you so much, LiveJournal...), so I'm recomposing it here.

Something Amber asked recently struck a cord in me, something that resonates with me. It has echoes in the very good (and very difficult) question "why do we sit?"

This is a hard question to answer, because there's not a direct answer. Sitting won't necessarily make you enlightened, give you peace of mind, make you better in bed, increase your salary, bring about world peace, or cure cancer. In fact if you sit "for" anything, you're most likely missing the point. Good sitting isn't an altered state -- you're not high or euphoric, you're not conversing with angels and demons, and you can't see through solid objects. In fact, Zen calls these things "makkyo" (sp?) and tells us to dismiss them as irrelevant. Even enlightenment should not be the goal -- the more you grasp for it, the less likely you are to find it. And besides, some schools of Zen say that enlightenment is "just like this" anyway.

So why the hell do we sit?

Now... I've noticed that almost everyone who sits does tend to find more peace and acceptance in their life. I don't know why or how, precisely, but it does seem to happen. But if you sit down thinking "I'm going to get peaceful!" -- it's probably the thing least likely to happen.

So again, why do we sit?
Why your life is a gardenCollapse )

Current Mood: calmcalm

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October 11th, 2003
06:32 pm


Now I've been seized by the crafty bug ...
OK, now that I understand what seiza is, a bench is out. I can make do with folded blankets and pillows for a while, but I think what I'd really like to do is make a zafu and zabuton. Mmmm, flannel. Yes, it's absolutely an excuse for a trip to the fabric store, but unlike some things I can definitely make these cheaper than I could buy them, and I think the personal connection would be nice. Plus, I can make the zabuton as large and fluffy as I want.

Zabuton should be pretty easy - it's a freakin' rectangle; the hardest part will be deciding if I want the cover to be removable or not, and how I want to secure the batting. Best pattern I found for a zafu is here.

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October 10th, 2003
09:01 pm


Seiza bench
Tom, can we have a description from you on how one sits using a seiza bench? I remember you talking about it somewhere, but I can't find it.

For some reason, I have this image of kneeling, and sitting back on your heels. That can't be right, because how would the bench figure into that? And how could that be an easier position? My knees would start screaming almost immediately.

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02:10 pm


Why I sit
I will try to explain why I sit. The details of my life are inconsequential...Collapse )

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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October 8th, 2003
04:28 pm


What now...
What would be most useful to discuss? Any thoughts?

Current Mood: curiouscurious

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October 7th, 2003
01:09 pm


Sometimes as I'm letting go of more and more, accepting, giving in... I hit a wall of sheer terror.
The wall of terrorCollapse )

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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