Sunday, December 21, 2008

ah ah ah Panel Five!

Well its been way too long with out an update. Lots of everything but sewing going on sincemy last post but as you may have guessed by the title of this post I just finished the 5th panel. Soon the really tricky bits like joining the sets and the frame (eek!) but all in due time.

I had been sick all last week with the flu and after basically laying down for 5 days straight, I was really motivated to do Anything but sit around watching TV or the like. Still I decided to put a bit more time into this project over the holidays since I'm free from work until the the new year.

Well here is what I have done so far (note:also pictured is Sir Wobblington (upper right) guarding the castle and keeping an eye on the Field of Happiness ;) )

click me for a full view

Thursday, December 4, 2008

JUKAI & ROHATSU 2 day retreat

Well not much to tell on the sewing front this week. I still have to finish up a line of stitches on the fourth set and will perhaps after this weekends mini-sesshin... which to me will be the longest yet.

On that subject I am rather excited to be able to participate live. So in anticipating a longer sitting I had been getting all the reading in I could (at the expense of my sewing endeavor) and had run across this wonderful gem on Mr. Crosses blog "Treasury of the Eye of True Sitting" (along with many other excellent translations and such) That I thought was a particularly fitting bit to read with this retreat forth-coming and it really resonated with me.
(permission was granted to post this- with many thanks!)

58. Rules of Sitting-Zen

Zen practice is sitting-zen. For sitting-zen a quiet place is good. Lay out a thick sitting mat. Do not let wind and smoke get in, and do not let rain or dew seep through. Preserve an area big enough to contain the body. There are traces of ancients sitting on a diamond seat or sitting on a bed of rock, but they all spread out a thick carpet of grass and sat on that. The sitting place should be bright; it should not be dark, day or night. To be warm in winter and cool in summer is the way. Cast aside all involvements and cease the ten thousand things. Good is not considered. Bad is not considered. Mind, intention, consciousness, is not it. Awareness, thought, reflection, is not it. Do not have designs on becoming buddha. Drop off sitting down and lying down. Eat and drink sparingly, and guard time closely. Enjoy sitting-zen unreservedly -- as if putting a fire out, on your head. The fifth ancestor on Obai-zan mountain had no other occupation: he practised nothing but sitting-zen.

For sitting-zen wear a kasaya and use a round cushion. The cushion does not go under the whole of the crossed legs; it goes under the backside. So the underside of the folded legs is on the sitting mat, and the sitting bones are on the cushion. This, in the time of the sitting-zen of the buddhas and the ancestors, is THE Method of Sitting -- whether it is full lotus sitting or whether it is half lotus sitting. In full lotus sitting the right foot goes on the left thigh and the left foot goes on the right thigh, with the toes placed symmetrically on each thigh, not out of proportion. In half lotus sitting the left foot just goes on the right thigh. Let robe and gown hang loosely and keep them neat. The right hand goes over the left foot and the left hand goes over the right hand. The thumbs at their tips connect into each other. The hands, like this, are drawn in towards the body, and placed so that the tips of the thumbs meet opposite the navel. Letting the body right itself, practise upright sitting -- neither leaning left nor leaning right, neither slumping forward nor arching backward. Allow without fail the ears and the shoulders to be opposed and the nose and the navel to be opposed. Let the tongue rest against the roof of the mouth. Let the breath pass through the nose. Let the lips and teeth come together. Let the eyes be open -- not wide open and not half-closed. Having readied the body-mind like this, let there be one full out-breath. Sit totally still, thinking into that zone which is the negation of thinking. How is it possible to think into the zone that negates thinking? It is by non-thinking, which is the key to Sitting in sitting-zen. Sitting-zen is not the zen that is learned. It is the gate to the great and effortless ease of Sitting. It is untainted practice-and-experience.

Treasury of the Eye of True Sitting;
Rules of Sitting-Zen

Delivered to the assembly at Kippo temple in the Yoshida district of Esshu [Fukui prefecture], in the 11th lunar month, in the winter of the first year of Kangen [1243].