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The vidio above is hilarious. Pay attention to the subtitles. I Love you-tube. Of course the Danzig lines sound more like Jerry Only....

Anyway I am home for the the weekend before heading down to NOLA for a class totally unrelated to my job field.
This irritates me a little bit but the per-diem will be good and someone has to go to this class and fill the collateral billet...

ZMH and ZMI were realy excited to sit this morning. ZMH even woke me up saying it was ZAZEN TIME!

But we ate some breakfast and drank some tea first.

Why do Dogen's instructions for sitting say to have the eyes open? Seems pretty counter productive to dropping off body and mind to me.


Unknown said...

I'm not sure what Dogen had in mind when recommending eyes open but for me, that thing called my mind really drifts away when I close eyes during zazen.

Problems with attention are fewer with eye open. Just one of thoue couter intuitive things about awakening.

Besides if eyes open works for Old Man Dogen, who am I to argue? (I'm gooing to have to stop calling him Od Man as I'm fast approaching the age when he transended life.)

Al said...

That video was awesome. Thanks for that.

oxeye said...

Jordan, Here's my 1-1/2 cents on the question.. Closing the eyes is what we do right before sleeping. Opening the eyes is done on awakening. I think we are looking to awaken.

Mike Luetchford said that short periods of closing the eyes during zazen is ok. Other teachers recommend keeping even blinking to a minimum. I go with the latter.

That video was a hoot. :)

SlowZen said...

Hey guys, I am still not sold on the eyes open thing. The only purpose I could see it serving is as a remedy if you are prone to sleeping. I just can't buy off on something because some old dead guy said it. Closing the eyes seems to work pretty well for me...

Ted Biringer said...

Hi Jordan,


I personally find that with my eyes open (half open, actually--just kind of relaxed) my ability to maintain an open awareness is usually a little better. That is to say, when I close my eyes during zazen I tend to drift into some kind of conceptualizing activity.

On the other hand, when I seem particularly distracted, sometimes closing my eyes helps me to get focused...

I once heard (or perhaps read) a Q & A between Aitken Roshi and a student on this issue. Aitken Roshi gave about three responses as to why the eyes should remain open--- the student persisted, saying that they always found it easier to sit with the eyes closed. Aitken said, "Fine, then close them."

I think Dogen would probably suggest that we give a good honest try to both and go with what seemed to work best for us...


Sean said...

The Yale institute of Danzig research? Of all things -- I once had a roommate who I think was probably an alumnus of that fine institution. I think he was pledged to the eleet fratoonity, Mullet-Mullet-Mu, but that could be my mere guesswork.

Ms. Shakira worries me. It seems that she might have some sort of an epileptic thing, going on ... but no, it is just a dance ... or is it? The ambiguities of it could be simply confounding.

I've not studied much of zazen, but I have read of the matter of keeping the eyes open. I've also blatantly disregarded it, for some reason, in the few times when I've tried to perform sitting meditation.

I haven't found any place where I can sit, except where there would be a field of visually distracting forms, of a stocked bookshelf, in front of me. I'm afraid that my mind will naturally start to pick out forms on that field, no matter where I would place my mind, but only if my eyes are open.

I do not wish to pretend as if I knew any more of Kensho than Dogen. I simply have closed my eyes, during those few attempts at zazen. I think I should face the opposite wall, next time, and leave my eyes open. I had not thought of that, previously.

I've read that there is a Zen Temple, in New Orleans: http://www.nozt.org/nozt.shtml

I've been planning on visiting New Orleans, during an upcoming vacation. It's along the coast, somehow, and as a city, it's probably going to be more culturally lively than D.C. would be, I think. I've been looking forward to it, in all naive intention.

Delta mud!

Thanks for looking!