Good practices for a householder

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Good practices for a householder

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Wed May 01, 2013 8:48 am

When I converted to Buddhism about three years ago, I was recently divorced and had decided that Zen was the school I wanted to practice. Now, me and my ex are remarried, and we have a third child just added to our household. Practicing zazen has become basically an impossibility. So I'm wondering what a good practice would be to take up.

Do the Zen masters have any advice on this matter?

What are some good Mahayana practices and/or schools to take up for a third shift assembly line worker with three kids?
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby shaunc » Wed May 01, 2013 9:38 am

Pureland. I got into it for similar reasons.
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby Astus » Wed May 01, 2013 11:09 am

Originally the huatou method propagated by Dahui Zonggao was meant for lay people. Read the book Swampland Flowers, most of the letters in it from Dahui are sent to lay people. You may also study the teachings of Bankei Yotaku and Daehaeng Sunim, both of them taught very direct Zen and they had a large lay audience.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby seeker242 » Wed May 01, 2013 12:56 pm

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:When I converted to Buddhism about three years ago, I was recently divorced and had decided that Zen was the school I wanted to practice. Now, me and my ex are remarried, and we have a third child just added to our household. Practicing zazen has become basically an impossibility. So I'm wondering what a good practice would be to take up.

Do the Zen masters have any advice on this matter?

What are some good Mahayana practices and/or schools to take up for a third shift assembly line worker with three kids?


The practice of Zen "work practice" has a long history. :smile:

“Work” and “practice” are not two separate entities. They are one. If we can see them as one, our daily work will not be simply a “task”, a “job, a “paycheck”, a burden of housekeeping” but, rather, a deep and fulfilling practice of awakening to the delight of “just this.”


http://stillmindzendo.org/newcomers/dev ... -practice/
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby kirtu » Wed May 01, 2013 4:10 pm

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:Do the Zen masters have any advice on this matter?

What are some good Mahayana practices and/or schools to take up for a third shift assembly line worker with three kids?


Some Zen masters who I have know have specifically said that your children are your practice. In addition you can sit zazen for 3-5 minutes (maybe not everyday) and John Daido Loori did oryoki pretty much everyday when he was working (although he had to simplify the liturgy). You can also take/recite the precepts everyday and take the Bodhisattva Vows everyday and can recite these on the way to work. Our life should be the life of the Buddha. That's the whole point of the precepts and the practice.

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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby kirtu » Wed May 01, 2013 4:12 pm

shaunc wrote:Pureland. I got into it for similar reasons.


This is one reason we need something like Obaku Zen. DT Suzuki said something similar in the intro to his Pure Land book.

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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby Astus » Wed May 01, 2013 4:22 pm

kirtu wrote:
shaunc wrote:Pureland. I got into it for similar reasons.

This is one reason we need something like Obaku Zen. DT Suzuki said something similar in the intro to his Pure Land book.


No need to rely on the very little information available in English on the Obaku school. Just look at the teachings of practically any teacher from Chinese or Vietnamese Mahayana. Pure Land and Chan practices easily go together.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Wed May 01, 2013 8:20 pm

seeker242 wrote:
dyanaprajna2011 wrote:When I converted to Buddhism about three years ago, I was recently divorced and had decided that Zen was the school I wanted to practice. Now, me and my ex are remarried, and we have a third child just added to our household. Practicing zazen has become basically an impossibility. So I'm wondering what a good practice would be to take up.

Do the Zen masters have any advice on this matter?

What are some good Mahayana practices and/or schools to take up for a third shift assembly line worker with three kids?


The practice of Zen "work practice" has a long history. :smile:

“Work” and “practice” are not two separate entities. They are one. If we can see them as one, our daily work will not be simply a “task”, a “job, a “paycheck”, a burden of housekeeping” but, rather, a deep and fulfilling practice of awakening to the delight of “just this.”


http://stillmindzendo.org/newcomers/dev ... -practice/


We talk alot while on the line at work. But sometimes there are periods of quiet, where I'll practice zazen while standing there. I'm not sure if it's right, or if it's doing anything, but I hope that it does.

kirtu wrote:This is one reason we need something like Obaku Zen. DT Suzuki said something similar in the intro to his Pure Land book.


I remember having read from some Zen masters who suggested the practice of nembutsu for those who couldn't perform zazen. I can't find them now, of course, since it wasn't an issue when I first read them, but now it it. :p

Astus wrote:No need to rely on the very little information available in English on the Obaku school. Just look at the teachings of practically any teacher from Chinese or Vietnamese Mahayana. Pure Land and Chan practices easily go together.


It's the same with Korean Mahayana.
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby greentara » Thu May 02, 2013 11:42 am

'again, you don't need to sit and do anything. You just need to sit. Give up the obsessive human need to do something all the time and just be still. Let Silence teach you as you sit.

If you must do something while you sit, then keep it simple. Do simple inquiry: "Who is wanting to do something right now?" Then shut-up and listen for the answer. Asking questions is a nice way to stop the mental machinery for a moment as long as you truly wish to know the answer. The answer is always the Silence that follows the question, and in time, you will discover that to be the truth'
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby Astus » Thu May 02, 2013 11:58 am

greentara wrote:'again, you don't need to sit and do anything. You just need to sit. Give up the obsessive human need to do something all the time and just be still. Let Silence teach you as you sit.


And why sit? What if you don't have time to just sit around? There are things to take care of, people to talk to, meals to cook, work to do, etc. How do you manage that?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby Jikan » Thu May 02, 2013 2:02 pm

greentara wrote:'again, you don't need to sit and do anything. You just need to sit. Give up the obsessive human need to do something all the time and just be still. Let Silence teach you as you sit.

If you must do something while you sit, then keep it simple. Do simple inquiry: "Who is wanting to do something right now?" Then shut-up and listen for the answer. Asking questions is a nice way to stop the mental machinery for a moment as long as you truly wish to know the answer. The answer is always the Silence that follows the question, and in time, you will discover that to be the truth'


related to Astus' post: what happens when "sitting" itself and "Silence" as such become "obsessive human needs"?
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby shaunc » Fri May 03, 2013 1:50 pm

House holders like myself often feel left out when it comes to our practise. We read (often with envy) on forums like this of our fellow practitioners going to exotic places, studying under respected & learned gurus & meeting some very interesting people both lay & monastic. My life is somewhat different, I'm a blue collar worker (recently laid off) trying to pay a mortgage & feed a wife & 4 kids. Up until a few weeks ago my days started at 3.00am, in a truck & on the road by 4.00 am, 2.00pm home to feed chooks, a bit of yard work, walk the dog, 4.00pm all the kids are home, now it starts to get really hectic, someones'got to go to footy training, another one has to go to boxing training (and by the way, can you stop somewhere & buy me a mouthguard I've got a fight on saturday). Try & get a few vegetables peeled for the wife, she gets home at 6.00pm & starts cooking dinner for us all, lock up the chooks, feed the dog, feed the kids, clean up the kitchen, bath kids & get them into bed. If I'm lucky I'll get in a smoke & a cup of tea before bed 9-10pm. Admittedly after 6.00pm my wife & me are sharing the work & she's also been doing a paid job as well. Will I get enlightened doing all this? Probably not. But what I am doing is raising the next generation & my belief is that that's an important job too.
At times we get envious of other peoples lifestyle but at the same time we're pretty lucky with ours. What really irritates me though is other practitioners that think I'm lazy/half hearted because I don't sit for an hour in meditation & go on weekend retreats etc.
The buddha preached to lay people, he had lay supporters, from the earliest times of buddhism there have been lay people in the sangha. Not every buddhist is a monk/nun & not every buddhist aspires to be one. My belief is if buddhism in the west doesn't start catering to the lay people it may well start to decline here as it has in Japan & singapore & other more developed asian nations.
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby Astus » Fri May 03, 2013 4:29 pm

ShaunC,

There are different levels of Buddhists, and everybody takes and uses as much of the Dharma as they want. The first thing is to take refuge in the Three Jewels, then on you are a Buddhist, no matter what. If you can keep, or aspire to keep, some precepts and vows, that's already part of the practice. And when I say practice, it means practising the Dharma in one's life, and not in a narrow sense of sitting on a cushion.

From a fundamental perspective, here is a collection of teachings addressed to lay people: Lay Buddhist practice. This discourse is highly recommended: Sigalovada Sutta - The Layperson's Code of Discipline

And if we are talking about Mahayana, the six paramitas are easily applicable to lay life. It includes methods to relate to others (giving, discipline), central qualities to nurture (patience, effort), and inner methods (meditation, wisdom). If that sounds too much, it can be reduced to a single practice: compassion. Devotion is another important part of Buddhism, and you can see its tangible presence in any Buddhist country. One part of that devotion is "mindfulness of Buddha", that is practised in the form of recitation and prostration. The central method of the Pure Land school is being mindful of Amitabha Buddha, and it is the most popular among both the laity and the monastics. But if you feel more connected to another buddha or bodhisattva, that's fine too.

If you are more drawn to Vajrayana, it has a lot to offer too. As an example: The Pointing-Out Instruction to the Old Lady

I think that even for a busy lay person like you there are many many options. You just have to choose.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby seeker242 » Fri May 03, 2013 10:42 pm

shaunc wrote:House holders like myself often feel left out when it comes to our practise.


I have found that to be the case also. However, the person who is "leaving us out" is often, and one could argue always, ourselves! If you think about it, going to exotic places, studying under respected & learned gurus & meeting some very interesting people both lay & monastic, ultimately isn't going to bring you to enlightenment. The old masters say that if you are looking outside of your own mind to try to find enlightenment, you won't ever find it. It is not "out there" somewhere, it's always right here.

Will I get enlightened doing all this? Probably not.


Master Chao-Chou asked Master Nan-Ch'uan, "What is the Way?" Nan-Ch'uan answered, "Ordinary mind is the Way."

What this says to me is that "practice" is not some special thing you do in some special place, but rather normal everyday mind, in normal everyday life. Yard work, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, etc. All that, in and of itself, is "the way". To make practice something different from daily everyday things, is a mistake IMO. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby PorkChop » Sat May 04, 2013 12:47 am

Just to add a little to what Astus said, I like this one:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Good practices for a householder

Postby shaunc » Sat May 04, 2013 10:26 am

Thank-you to everyone that answered my little rant. I've got a bit of reading to do over the next week or so & funnily enough I don't feel anymore after reading a the responses & a little bit of some of the links that my practise is as poor as I thought it to be, actually quite the contrary I now feel that given my circumstances my practise is quite decent.
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