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I'm really good at emptying my mind. Am I doing it right?

Theravada, 3 years.
I've been practicing breathing meditation and for almost a year, I've noticed I am better at focusing at nothing at all than towards my breath. But once I do this, I do way better at focusing towards the breath afterwards. What is the practice of emptying the mind completely? Is it Shikantaza? Should I be practicing that instead? I like the idea of Theravada how it is the most ancient living school and that you don't need a teacher the whole way. I also like reading the Buddha's Word. But zazen seems way more simple. Which discipline might be best for me? I really do like simplicity. And I'm already friends with some local Theravada monks. BUT I am very skeptical of the supernatural and it seems that Zen can be that way, too.

Which is the "better" path, however you personally wish to define that?

Comments

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    There is no better or worse path. Follow the one that feels right for you!
    Nothing puts me more off a school than when they try and tell me that their school is the best one.
    What's right for somebody isn't right for the next person.
    Do what feels right with you and what resonates with you. That's the best one!

    WalkerTravellerdooksta123David
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Earthninja is right.

    No-one on here can tell you which tradition is best for you.

    We're lucky in this day and age in that we're exposed to all the traditions so can choose the one that suits us best as individuals.

    Earthninja
  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    A Dharma transmitted zen master of Jiyu Kennett's lineage told me it didn't matter which I practiced. Either Samatha/Vipassana or Shikantaza.

    Earthninjalobster
  • But guys, is completely emptying the mind in the present moment shikantaza? What is it? And what does that do?

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Well I can't really comment because I haven't practiced shikantaza. I've done Vipassana/Samatha meditations.

    Firstly it's good to look at what exactly do you mean by emptying the mind?
    And why you want to empty the mind?
    And can you describe what mind is?

    I'm not trying to be funny :) most people have their own definition of what mind is. Some maintain it doesn't exist at all. It's a label for thoughts.
    Some say all is mind. ?

    So it's good to clear this up prior. <3

  • @dooksta123 said:
    But guys, is completely emptying the mind in the present moment shikantaza? What is it? And what does that do?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samatha
    is perfectly fine

    The mind empties in its own time. Shikantaza is not trying to abide, hold on to emptiness, 'better' or as I experienced this mornings agitated meditation, agitation.

    Shikantaza does not 'do' anything. It does not interfere with anything.

    Zen for ever! [oops]

    Traveller
  • On what basis could I tell you that you were or weren't 'doing it right'? Especially considering I don't know what meditation method you were given. My advice is find someone who gives a meditation method and that for whatever reason you think they know what they are talking of. Then you can ask that person about your experiences. If you ask me I don't know what method you are given and I can't tell you if it is right or wrong.

    In general even what a meditation teacher can tell you is just 'hints' like you have hints on how to learn to ride a bike but until you are on a real bike you don't know that experience.

  • KaldenYungdrungKaldenYungdrung Netherlands Explorer

    @dooksta123 said:
    Theravada, 3 years.
    What is the practice of emptying the mind completely?

    The practice of emptying the Mind of the Ego is to the meditation of no thoughts.
    If one can meditate without thoughts or if thoughts come they are not followed, analysed etc. that causes an inactive dualistic reacting ego clinging mind and that is the start of the real meditation, namely the meditation about, from, of, the Enlightened Mind which is Buddhahood, when known and experienced.

    Best wishes
    KY

  • howhow Veteran
    edited December 2015

    @dooksta123

    40 yrs + of a daily Zen Shikantaza practice has me suggesting
    that just because you might have more aptitude for one particular practice over another, does not in itself follow that this makes it a better meditative choice for you to take up.

    All Buddhist practices have periods of intermittent starts and stops along the path towards suffering's cessation and ones ability to accept this is often all that was required to pick up that journey again.

    With three years of your present practice under your belt, perhaps some investigation of how accepting you are, or are not, of where you really are, right now, might be something to consider.

    Nirvanalobster
  • KaldenYungdrungKaldenYungdrung Netherlands Explorer

    @how said:
    @dooksta123

    40 yrs + of a daily Zen Shikantaza practice has me suggesting
    that just because you might have more aptitude for one particular practice over another, does not in itself follow that this makes it a better meditative choice for you to take up.

    All Buddhist practices have periods of intermittent starts and stops along the path towards suffering's cessation and ones ability to accept this is often all that was required to pick up that journey again.

    With three years of your present practice under your belt, perhaps some investigation of how accepting you are, or are not, of where you really are, right now, might be something to consider.

    Well i know there are many pathways in Buddhism which can lead to certain fruits, no doubt about it.

    There are a lot similarities between these Buddhist Traditions whereas thea all are not similar, this because of the Lineage / philosophy etc.

    That one can like rice and another potatoes that is for me also very clear both can still hunger for a certain time until the practice or food is not any more needed.

    Yes agree we have sequential paths to Buddhahood and can be seen as Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen and one can experience for sure ups and downs.

    Further does count one`s level of understanding , which can emancipate according the practice, but which and why, that is pure karmic seen.

    Best wishes
    KY

  • howhow Veteran
    edited December 2015

    @dooksta123 said:
    But guys, is completely emptying the mind in the present moment shikantaza? What is it? And what does that do?

    Shikantaza embodies the goal of goalessness.
    It is a practice where one's conditioned responses to all arising, living and departing phenomena, are neither grasped after, rejected or ignored.

    The emptying of the mind in the present moment is no more relevant to describing Shikantaza than the emptying your eyes or ears or nose or tongue or body in this present moment could do.

    In Shikantaza, no one sense gate is held up as being more special than another and no particular sense gate needs us filling it up or emptying it.

    If you are capable of learning how to stop feeding your own identity programming, then you can learn how to do Shikantaza
    but
    that probably also goes for any other Buddhist meditation as well.

    Shoshin
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