Sunday, July 01, 2007

DAVID CHADWICK, MOTIVATION, YOGA EXERCISES and SUZUKI ROSHI

Lone Wolf put a comment linking to a video interview with David Chadwick, author of Crooked Cucumber, the biography of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Click here to go to it or click on the title of this article. You have to scroll way down the page, but it's there. I haven't watched the whole thing. But it contains the only film I've ever seen of a talk by Suzuki Roshi. That's pretty cool.

And in the interview Chadwick answers a question I always hear, which is how do you get motivated to do Zazen practice. The answer, which Chadwick poses a bit more politely than I'm about to, is fuck motivation, just practice. He compares it to writing, which I can relate to. Any writer knows that if you only write when you're specifically motivated to do so you won't produce anything worthwhile. You just gotta sit down and do it. Same with Zazen. You set a time each day for Zazen and you do it then, whether you want to do it or not, whether it feels like you think it should or not. You just get down and do it.

Another question I'm getting a lot lately, sometimes phrased with a sense of urgency that's a bit scary, is what kind of Yoga practices can you do to limber up enough to do full or half-lotus. In my case, I could always do full lotus even from an early age. I just couldn't hold it very long. It's kinda weird cuz I wasn't very flexible otherwise. Anyhow, I limbered up enough to do a full sitting period in full lotus by just doing it as long as I could stand, then adding a couple minutes more, then changing positions to Burmese style. After a few months I could do 40 min. with no real problem.

For Yoga exercises, I don't know all that well & besides it's a bitch to try to describe Yoga exercises in words. But all Yoga practice is said by some to be preparation to sit in full lotus. So just go to your local McYoga and spend $15 on the intro class, then corner the teacher afterwards and ask for advise. That's a lot better than asking me anyway, cuz you'll be talking to someone face to face who can see what your real physical state is like. Yoga teachers are generally really sweet people who want to help everyone they meet, so take advantage of the suckers! (But not too much, OK)

Now I gotta go do some more work...

(Don't forget, come see my dang movie if you're in the LA area July 25th)

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny to read this entry! I went to a party last night and asked one of my Sacto friends, a two-year veteran of yoga classes, to show my husband and me some exercises to help limber us up for zazen. She cheerfully obliged, and within a few minutes, we were all contorting on the floor.

Now *that's* a party. LMAO!

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad,
Like your new book!

For Yoga excercises you can look here, but of course a real teacher will be better.
http://membres.lycos.fr/zenmontpellier/Lotus-english.html

Here is also some interesting stuff:
http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/kimyou/2007/eng-0304.html

http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/kimyou

Anonymous said...

me again,

third link wasn't the one I wanted, take that instead:
http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/kimyou/2007/eng-0307.html

It's about lotus or LOTUS posture. Interesting!

Igor said...

Funny :D

yudo said...

anonymous wrote:
"For Yoga excercises you can look here, but of course a real teacher will be better.
http://membres.lycos.fr/zenmontpellier/Lotus-english.html"

This link ought to be updated
http://zenmontpellier.site.voila.fr/eng/lotus/lotus_intro.html

I was pretty stiff, for one, being over fifty when I started, and it was rather efficient. Still, if you can get a yoga teacher, so much the better. Lots of older people can just properly damage their knees by forcing them too fast. The sitting on chairs just stiffens our hips much too much.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

I learned to sit in lotus position by sitting in Burmese position (one leg in front of the other, not crossed) until it was comfortable, The I put one leg on my shin and very gradually moved it up to my thigh, until I was comfortable in half lotus. When I was comfortable in half lotus on both sides, I started sitting in full lotus, for very brief periods at first, but gradually lengthening them until I could sit comfortably in full lotus. No special yoga exercises required, though they probably wouldn't hurt.

Anonymous said...

Jinzang said,

"I learned to sit in lotus position by sitting in Burmese position (one leg in front of the other, not crossed) until it was comfortable, The I put one leg on my shin and very gradually moved it up to my thigh, until I was comfortable in half lotus. When I was comfortable in half lotus on both sides, I started sitting in full lotus, for very brief periods at first, but gradually lengthening them until I could sit comfortably in full lotus. No special yoga exercises required, though they probably wouldn't hurt."

I generally sit Burmese because full and half-lotus are something I definitely need to work on...I have some chronic physical stuff going on that makes those latter two positions insanely difficult for me to use. My Sacramento friend thought that some gentle yoga techniques would help me in particular, and, after trying them again today after yesterday's "floor party", I am already able to sit in a half-lotus for five minutes (which is pretty good for me!).

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Interviewer:

What did you learn from Suzuki Roshi?

David Chadwick:

... the most useful thing I can think of
is to approach practice, which is just
trying to wake up to reality, wake up to
the meaning of life... the way --well,
I'm a writer-- the way writers approach
writing... [which] is you do it, whether
you feel like it or not.

---

Sounds like Tim McCarthy...
"even if it's just five lousy minutes."

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Imperatrix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Imperatrix said...

I found this in searching for "stretches for zazen":

http://
www.zencenterofdenver.org
/GettingStarted
/zazenstretches.html


These exercises are known as makko-ho and, from what I read at other links, are also used in martial arts practice. They're also somewhat similar to the stretches demonstrated by my friend from Sacto. Hope these help!

element said...

@ yudo,

the differcences between the to links are great.
In the updated version the girl is almost naked.

@ imperatix,

thanks for the link, I use to do the first and second excersise regulary, and find it very helpful.
But for the first exercise, I place the feet more away from the body.
And for streching, there are different methods. I go into streching position, hold it 10 seconds, then go back into starting position for 3-5sec. and then to streching position again. I do this
3x 10 times.

Thanks

Yudo said...

Element wrote:
"the differcences between the to links are great.
In the updated version the girl is almost naked. "

Sorry about this, it wasn't meant. I know Americans tend to be shocked by bare breasts, so I might as well avoid.

element said...

Hi yudo,

I love the new version!

Anonymous said...

Brad, that's weird, I was able to do a full Lotus since childhood, too, even I hated and avoided sports. I read somewhwre that all children below 6 can do it and if you do it every now and then you can keep it.

I still prefer Burmese or Half-Lotus though as the tension with full Lotus is quite strong.

On Yoga: I would refrain from declaring Yoga a preperation technique for Zazen, I has this "argument" already with some Zen-head. My wife is a Yoga teacher and serious dedicated Yoga pratice does indeed has it's own approach for realization.

To assume that "awakening" requires Zen-style techniques would be a dogma.

--IceBucket

Michael said...

As an Ashtanga practitoner for several years I can honestly say I can still only comfortably sit half-lotus... full on and my one knee always feels dangerously stressed. It could be YEARS of preparing myself for it. Slowly improving though!

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

gosh mysterion, that's groovy! you must have been really wild back in your mid forties..

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
muddy elephant said...

Brad says:

"Another question I'm getting a lot lately, sometimes phrased with a sense of urgency that's a bit scary is what kind of Yoga practices you can do to limber up enough to do a full or half-lotus.

It certainly is scary...

"Be a lamp unto yourself..."

Mysterion said...

Focus:
Brad's take is "correct posture?"
Full lotus position?

My take: Good posture and breathing are important to the process of zazen. Posture: sit straight; don’t slump. Breathing: natural and not contrived.

Diabutsu is not sitting in a chair. Actually, we do not know how Gotama sat. He could have been sitting on a three-legged milking stool for all I know. My theory is this: "If I am sitting incorrectly, Daibutsu will send a monk to strike me with a kyosaku."

Anonymous said...

Muddy Elephant has said:

""Be a lamp unto yourself..."

Indeed. So, please throw out your Italian cookbooks.

;)

Gregor said...

Great post thanks for the advice on getting into full lotus and sitting Zazen. . .I think I'll take you up on recommendations.

Otto Kerner said...

"fuck motivation, just practice" is not a very plausible answer to the question asked. The assumption here seems to be that, in the absence of motivation, one will just go ahead and sit, and this, in turn, assumes that one is, in fact, motivated to sit.

The question that this answer might better fit is, "Should I compulsively or habitually worry about or analyse my motivation?" Answer: "No".

Anonymous said...

If I have only a slight clue what Buddhism is all about it could be not really about posture or breathing.
The techniques have their value indeed and worked for many people (even some disagree) but when Dogen says that Zazen is Enlightment I understand this as rather refering to the inner process and not some outer bodily perfection.
In my opinion you can become a Buddha without even hearing about Buddhism and taking any special posture. This does not mean that religious traditions do not have their value.
Sit Zazen daily. It's good.

--IceBucket

John said...

There's no such thing as a separate inner process or a separate outer body perfection, except as ideas in our heads.

Anonymous said...

inner and outer are only divisions of the mind.there is really no inner or outer.

Jared said...

>>Otto:

"fuck motivation, just practice" is not a very plausible answer to the question asked. The assumption here seems to be that, in the absence of motivation, one will just go ahead and sit, and this, in turn, assumes that one is, in fact, motivated to sit.

I don't know how it is with you, but often when I think about going to go sit I come up with all kinds of excuses for why I don't need to or shouldn't, or better things I could be doing, etc. What Brad and Chad and anyone else who says "fuck motivation" means, I think, is to just throw all of that away and sit. Even if you don't feel like sitting, sit anyway. There are so many situations in life where we hem and haw over details and reasons and all of that, when in reality we should just DO IT. So, for zazen, just do it.

Anonymous said...

*and* there's no no!

Anonymous said...

I have an outy, my sister has an inny.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Becoming the Lotus" by Anton Temple offers a step-by-step program on achieving the Full Lotus posture. No exercises you can't get from the mentioned websites, but it organizes them into a schedule which gradually guides you into the exercises that are more difficult.

http://www.amaluxherbal.com/becoming_the_lotus.htm

Zen Jawa

Anonymous said...

regarding inner and outer.

surely it is a big problem that so many people do not see the two as the same or at least inextricably linked? sitting properly, eating properly, standing properly are in a way more important because they actually have an effecton the world around us where as the good thoughts in our heads are just thoughts in our head. no?

Otto Kerner said...

Jared,

Although, at this point, it's starting to seem like I'm splitting hairs, I still don't think that it makes sense to call what you're describing, "fuck motivation". "All kinds of excuses for why I don't need to or shouldn't, or better things I could be doing, etc." sounds like examples of the opposite of motivation. Now, "fuck anti-motivation" is a reasonable slogan for motivating people, but it is not the same thing as "fuck motivation".

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yeah right, it's hip at Zen boards to pretend you are sooo non-dualistic to prove your progress.

This inner/outer thing is not even an approximation, but what the heck I am typing about...

--IceBucket

esmerelda_verde said...

If you are in NYC my teacher Gordon Sharpe is one who teaches yoga as a preparation for meditation. There is a lot more than just having open hips and flexable knees. The idea is to learn to calm your body and focus both your mind and body together. Too many of us view our bodies as just something to carry your brain around in. Your knees are likely to take revenge for that attitude.

The average McYoga teacher may not help much. Yoga comes in flavors now, the more meditaion oriented practices are Kundalini, Integral, and Tantra. Hatha yoga really was designed to lead to raja yoga. This is a link to an article about the relationship:
http://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/143_1.cfm?ctsrc=blurb2

Some of the on line yoga journal's other articles are pretty good . I think the instruction are pretty clear, if you decide you just want to get a more flexible body and save the price of classes. It would also be a good idea to just get in the habit of sitting in lotus while watching tv or using the computer. That's what I have always done. Actually I have a problem sitting 'normally' at work.

Anonymous said...

iceBucket: i am hipper AND more non-dualistic than you'll ever be!!!

* TRoLly-TroLL that posted the "there is no inner or outer" comment

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared said...

>>Otto

I think another aspect of the "fuck motivation" statement is that you don't need motivation to sit. You just sit. That's it. It takes motivation to stop watching re-runs of Law and Order SVU (even though it creeps you out sometimes) and walk to your zafu/bath towel/couch cushion. But then sitting is just sitting. I also happen to feel that you shouldn't only sit when you feel motivated to. If I only sat when I felt motivated to I would probably only sit 10 times a year. If it makes it easier to take, think of the idea of sitting-when-you-aren't-motivated-to AS a motivation TO sit. Fucking full circle, man! That shit's trickier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

>>Mysterion

Motivation is about desire...
Desire is a leaf of greed.
Greed is the cause of most suffering in the world(disease being the other). If Cheney did not lust for the oil in Iraq, we would not be there. Iraq is a manifestation of greed.
We sit because we sit. Desire (motivation) should have nothing to do with it.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with desire. It's craving that's the issue. Desire is a normal and natural part of being human. Craving is when you become attached to your desires, which (like we don't all know what's coming up next...) causes suffering.

-Jared

P.S. It feels like everyting causes suffering these days! I can't even pee without it burning...


^That was a joke, by the way.

Anonymous said...

to the anon conspiracists.
go to

http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=64

and debate them there. remember to provide real evidence and answer questions properly. have fun

Anonymous said...

Why are you after full lotus?

Bragging at your Zen friends?

Faster enlightment?

WHY FULL LOTUS?

Anonymous said...

One of yoga benefits is that you can choose the way of your own development!

motivational questions said...

companies marketing mineral makeups and also get the best bargains in mineral makeup you can imagine,
find aout how to consolidate your students loans or just how to lower your actual rates.,
looking for breast enlargements? in Rochester,
homeopathy for eczema learn about it.,
Allergies, information about lipitor,
save big with great bargains in mineral makeup,

change edition interviewing motivational people preparing second
,

interviewing motivational people preparing second time
,

interviewing people motivational preparing for a second time
,

black mold exposure
,

black mold exposure symptoms
,

black mold symptoms of exposure
,

free job interview questions
,

free job interview answers
,

interview answers to get a job
,

lookfor hair styles for fine thin hair
,

search hair styles for fine thin hair
,

hair styles for fine thin hair
,

beach resort in the philippines
,

great beach resort in the philippines
,

luxury beach resort in the philippines
,
iron garden gates, here,
iron garden gates,
wrought iron garden gates
, here
,
wrought iron garden gates
,
You: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger
,
answer from more much,
eat eating mindless more than think we we why
,
la times classified,
new york times classified


texturizer,
texturizers here,
black hair texturizer,
find aout how care curly hair,
find about how to care curly hair,
care curly hair,
lipitor rash,
lipitor reactions,
new house ventura california,
the house new houston tx,
new house washington dc,
new house washington dc,
new house ventura california,
the house new houston tx,
the house new houston tx, that you ar looking for,
new house ventura california, you need to buy,
new house washington dc,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

chocolate esophagus heartburn study
,

chocolate esophagus heartburn study
be informed,

digestion healing healthy heartburn natural preventing way
,

digestion healing healthy heartburn natural preventing way
,


Allergies, lipitor rash,
alcohol rash,
lipitor and alcohol,
lipitor alcohol,

natural remedies to aid healing of esophagus
,

chicory heartburn
,

effectiveness of zocor vs. lipitor
,

chocolate esophagus
,
southwestern wrought iron yard gate,
exterior iron gates,
oriental wrought iron gates,
powder coated iron garden fencing,

thin hair said...

black mold exposure,black mold symptoms of exposure,wrought iron garden gates,your next iron garden gates, here,hair styles for fine thin hair,search hair styles for fine thin hair,night vision binoculars,buy, night vision binoculars,lipitor reactions,lipitor reactions,luxury beach resort in the philippines,beach resort in the philippines,homeopathy for baby eczema.,homeopathy for baby eczema.,save big with great mineral makeup bargains,companies marketing mineral makeups,prodam iphone praha,Apple prodam iphone praha,iphone clone cect manual,manual for iphone clone cect,fero 52 binoculars night vision,fero 52 night vision,best night vision binoculars,buy, best night vision binoculars,computer programs to make photo albums,computer programs, make photo albums,free printable tax forms,printable tax forms, free here,craftmatic adjustable air bedcraftmatic adjustable air bed, info hereboyd night air bedboyd night air bed, low priceair bed in wisconsinbest air beds in wisconsincloud air inflatable bedbest cloud air inflatable bedsportable sealy air bedportables, sealy air bedsaluminum rv luggage racksaluminum made, rv luggage racksair bed form raisedbest air beds form raisedsupport equipments aircraftbest support equipments for aircraftsinformercials bed airbest, informercials bed airmattress sized air bedsbest mattress sized air bedantique doorknob identificationantique doorknob, identification tipstroubleshooting dvd playertroubleshooting with the dvd playerflat panel television lcd versus plasmaflat panel television, lcd versus plasma pic the bestcauses of economic recessionwhat are the causes of economic recessionbed air foam adjustablebed air adjustable foam hoof prints antique and unusual equestrian printshoof prints, antique equestrian printsbuy adjustable air bedbuy the best adjustable air bedsair bedscanadian storesair beds, cheap canadian stores