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Beyond Breath

Discussion in 'Zen DIR' started by Straw Dog, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    Hello friends,

    Has anyone practiced Dark Zen Meditation?

    The general guidelines for DZM are:

    1) Forget desires
    2) Visualize sensory-perceptions to be posterior to Buddha-mind
    3) Sit with legs crossed and the spine erect
    4) Recollect that which is most imperceptible and antecedent to the in-breath and the out-breath during normal breathing rhythm
    5) Do not follow the breath or try to visualize a point between the in-breath and the out-breath

    Further explanation:

    1) To forget desires means to stop grasping after conditioned reality since it is impermanent and subject to endless transformations.

    2) What we perceive with our senses is a product of finite causes and conditions. Such perceptions are posterior to that which is their absolute source. We must come to see all things as coming after the original if we wish to commune with the source of all.

    3) To sit with legs crossed and the spine erect prepares the body to be offered to the sheer primordial potentiality that is Buddha-nature.

    4) To recollect that which is most antecedent to the in-breath and out-breath means that we must tune into that which is prior to the entire breathing cycle itself (or entire living cycle). Just as the hand which lifts a staff is not part of the staff, likewise the antecedent recollection is not a part of our breathing. As a practical illustration, we must recollect the antecedent as you breathe-in and breathe-out. If the breathing is long or short, labored or otherwise, we must focus on the antecedent so that breathing follows after it.

    When we breathe, for example, our normal belief is, "I am breathing." It never dawns on us to retract your attention and look in the opposite direction so as to rise above breathing. Not surprisingly, this is not an easy task (owing to force of habit, all of us still attend to conditions which are always posterior).

    5) Those who teach that one must follow the breath are making their very minds breath-dependent, thus falling into Samara. On the other hand, if one applies antecedent recollection, they will one day become free of all bodily functions.

    This is the general rundown and it's nowhere near as formal as conventional Zen has become. There are a few related techniques that produce similar results. There's been progress in ways I never came close to with zazen and mindful breathing. Has anyone else had similar experiences or care to share some advice on the meditation technique illustrated?

    Thank you.
     
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  2. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

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    It looks like it sort of combines the purpose of hua-toa with shikantaza. I personally haven't practiced this form of meditation, but I have heard of it before.
     
  3. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    Zen isn't actually dark or light. Just my coffee. ;0)
     
  4. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    Well, I like my coffee black. ;)

    Conventional Zen has changed in its popular understandings and practices over time. Some people confuse transient phenomena with Buddha-nature. Others take an anti-intellectual stance. Everybody talks about now, now, now.... And forget about the Now.

    Paying attention is useful, but mindfulness of the moon is most important.
     
    #4 Straw Dog, Apr 12, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  5. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    It's like the Buddha-mind willing breath.
     
  6. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    I'm so grateful that I discovered this technique. Talk about instant enlightenment!
     
  7. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Is that what they call it? I've always thought of it as a form of vipassana, to gain insight into the more physical aspects/interface with the mind. I used this technique, or something quite similar to it, when I was investigating PMS. I dubbed my technique as something analogous to "Drunken Kung Fu."
     
    #7 crossfire, Apr 13, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  8. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Oh, if your technique is anything like the one I was using, you might get some strong distortion after a bit some time of practice, in the begginning. Just keep working through it.
     
  9. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    lol. Now we just need to find someone who takes sugar. *grin*
    Well there's never an issue meandering through a differing course for sure.

    I was never a fan of what I call popular cafe Zen either. The type you get a fuzzy feeling at the local starbucks and bookstore discussing dharma and the wonders of enlightenment.

    I regard it exceedingly important to understand aspects that forces you to face directly exceedingly uncomfortable experiences. Otherwise imo, Zen will never be useful other than a decorative piece on the mantle.

    Zen is a practice that i know full well that I'll never keep. Either dark, light, or toasted.
    So i just go with the flow and take in and face whatever comes across the table at any givin moment. Techniques come into play there and can tell if something works or not.

    It would be interesting to know what comes out from your experiences strawdog and how your dealing with it.
     
  10. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    No distortion. Just more clarity than ever experienced before. It's like I didn't even begin to understand Zen Buddhism until now.
     
  11. Onkara

    Onkara Well-Known Member

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    Hi Straw Dog
    Just to share a thought on point 5, my understanding is that following the breath leads to letting go and is itself a solution to the problem that number 5 sets out to avoid as well. It results in the recognition that there is a happening, a flow of change or impermanence (anicca) and there is no-one breathing but there is breath (anatta).

    best wishes.
     
  12. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    Zen is zen is zen is zen... :D

    Don't worry. I won't get hung up on labels and certainly don't oppose other practices entirely. Dark Zen is just a useful label for indicating that I don't practice ghost-sitting or chasing breath, but I am still a Zen Buddhist.

    My experience isn't going with the flow, but rather becoming the flow.
     
  13. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    Hello Onkara,

    Sure, it does assist in letting go of everything, except the breath. When we need to transcend all transitory phenomena, it doesn't help if our mind has become breath-dependent. It seems to just cause identification with breathing rather than with primordial potentiality.
     
  14. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    Just

    I dunno. It seems a very subtle shift occurs trading focus from that of identifying dependence on breath to that of Primordial potentially.
    Whatever that is. ;0)

    Though i don't regard any such subtlety as hindering overall, just a lateral shift as it were.

    I take following " whatever" drops naturally anyways on it's own accord thus pure shikantaza occurs.
     
    #14 Twilight Hue, Apr 13, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  15. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    I'm feeling a little thick in the head today.

    Can someone rap about antecedent recollection a little bit.... lay-term it up a bit?

    Thanks.

    :namaste
     
  16. Indira

    Indira Member

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    I love break throughs..;)
     
  17. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    If it's anything like what I've practiced investigating PMS, your awareness is further back in your brain than in following your breath. I was following the symptoms/sensations/phenomena towards the source. It's not in your frontal lobes right behind your eyes, it's further back--posterior to those. (Yeah, brain awareness is dubious, at best.)
     
  18. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Give it some time. :eek:
     
  19. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    Thanks... that is sort of what I understood it to be.

    Would you restate it like: Awareness of your awareness of breath....
    Or something more along that line of experiencing?

    Tricky subject to name :)
     
  20. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    No, it's more like silently following the regulation of your breath towards the source of the regulation. Being with the natural breath regulation while somewhat zoning out, but not quite.
     
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