What do you sit on?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

What do you sit on?

Postby Tex » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:27 pm

Greetings!

I'm curious if any of you use or recommend a zafu/zabuton set, seiza bench, or anything similar? To date I've been using the floor or a chair when I sit and I think I would probably be more comfortable with some proper meditation gear. Thoughts or advice?
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
User avatar
Tex
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:46 pm
Location: Austin, TX, USA

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:39 pm

Hey. Good to see you here.

To paraphrase Ajahn Thanissaro, zafus are mostly a waste of money. Try using one or two couch pillows, or folded blankets to the height that is most confortable to you.

Metta.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
User avatar
Modus.Ponens
 
Posts: 1830
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Funchal, Portugal

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:29 am

Hi, Tex - long time no see!
I use and recommend a large thin cushion (cotton blanket folded in 4 or 6 layers) with a smaller thicker firm cushion on it. Most couch cushions and pillows are too soft and you just sink into them, where you need to sit on them to keep your hips at least as high as your knees.
Sitting flat on the floor for any length of time is beyond me and, I think, beyond most westerners.

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:51 am

At the immigrant community Thervada temples I've attended, the monks might sit on a thin square cushion, but the lay followers pretty much all sit on the floor(matt or carpet), admittadly they're usually there for chanting, not so much meditation, but if you're comfortable with it, it seems to me sitting on the floor without a cushion is always an option.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 669
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby pilgrim » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:16 am

Various cushions, as long as the hips is at same height or higher than the knees, and the cushion slants forward a little ( or otherwise tuck a folded towel under the tailbone).
User avatar
pilgrim
 
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:27 pm

A gigantic big armchair lazy boy, I sit my 6 ft 5" frame down cross legged across the chair, it's that big.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1815
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby imagemarie » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:59 pm

Zabutons are really overpriced. I made my own by cutting off the end of an old sleeping bag. It's very soft and works fine. I wouldn't be without my own zafu either - familiarity breeds content :smile: It's filled with malleable buckwheat hulls that support wherever you need it - butt wise.

:anjali:
User avatar
imagemarie
 
Posts: 357
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:21 pm

I've got a couple of futon cushions that I've been using for over ten years and are now ready to be superannuated.
When I am not at home I use whatever is available. Last night it was a doubled over blanket and when I have been camping I've doubled over my thermarest.
Welcome back, Tex.

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15795
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby purple planet » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:05 pm

i sit on my bed - with a pillow behind me with a straight back - i have a big pillow between me and the wall and a very small pillow that i put for my lower back

but the most important things that help me are sitting on a bed - legs crossed - not lotus or half lotus - and to lean a bit on the wall with a more or less straight back - this is what works for me - not sure it will work for you
Please send merit to my old dog named Mika - thanks in advance
User avatar
purple planet
 
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:07 am
Location: Israel

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby daverupa » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:40 pm

I primarily use a meditation bench with folding legs; it fits into a backpack. The trick is to get your knees to rest comfortably below your hips so that your back curves properly.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 3719
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby vkasdn » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:01 am

i use a blanket folded like a small pillow shape, a friend suggested that i not waste money buying something i can sit on when essentially i can sit on nearly anything for free, also i will not be dependent on a special device if i want to sit...
User avatar
vkasdn
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:26 am

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby convivium » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:19 am

chairs
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
User avatar
convivium
 
Posts: 574
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 7:13 am

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby mydoghasfleas » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:24 am

I used a bath towel folded into thirds lengthwise and then rolled up. It ends up the same size as a standard meditation cushion and no matter where I travel, there's always a bath towel available.
User avatar
mydoghasfleas
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Coyote » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:50 am

I have been using two big fluffy pillows to support me while I sit on the floor. I have tried using a folded blanket but found it too hard and uncomfortable. I am thinking of switching back to the folded blanket so I can get used to it, and I think it will prove to be the best option in the long run given that it elevates the hips to a higher and more stable position than the pillows.
A lot of the discomfort can be dealt with by just sitting it out while the body gets used to the new position. I even found two pillows uncomfortable for a while, but now it does not bother me at all.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 495
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:59 am

With reference to right speech and the precept against lieing, I would have to say mostly my computer chair!! I've got a bit of a phobia about sitting meditation, I used to be big into sitting meditation, no cushions, just straight on the floor, but heard too many voices, and ended up in the hospital many times, so now I do my meditation lying down, and just everyday awareness 23/7!!

Sitting meditation, as opposed to chanting, is not always recommended for people with mental illnesses that involve voices, voices tend to be quieter than our thoughts, and quieting our thoughts through meditation, makes the voices seem louder or more obvious, every time I have let myself get into hearing and following voices, I end up in the psych ward. So this is just a personal problem, not advice for anyone, except those just like me......
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 669
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:23 pm

I always sit on my butt. That covers all bases.
AIM WebsiteMy ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 1824
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:45 pm

Well that about covers it, although I know in England if you want to be a little crude you say bum, which brings to mind a really funny story, in America, bum means homeless person not behind.

When I was about 13 in Australia, our sabbath school teacher at church was reading us an inspirational text, but one written in America, "look at all the bums in the slums' she read with a straight face, we all started cracking up and I think her face turned a bit red. Words can have different meanings, pali words, english words, American english, British english, Australian, Canadian. Its important, some times, not to take words too seriously. If you read something that doesn't make sense, maybe you don't fully understand what those words meant to that author or that translator, OK thanks Bhikku Pesala, a good sense of humour goes a long way.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 669
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Crazy cloud » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:15 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I always sit on my butt. That covers all bases.


Milarepa turned his back to Gampopa and lifted his cotton cloth, thus revealing his buttocks, which were completely covered with hard calluses from all his extensive sitting on the stony grounds of caves. He said, "There is nothing more profound than meditating on this pith instruction. The qualities in my mind stream have arisen through my having meditated so persistently that my buttocks have become like this. You must also give rise to such heartfelt perseverance and meditate!" This final instruction remained in the depths of Gampopa's mind forever.
Karl Brunnhölzl fFrom: 'Straight from the heart: Buddhist Pith Instructions'


:tongue:
your name Mori means forest like the infinite fresh green distances of your blindness
User avatar
Crazy cloud
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 8:55 am

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby Hickersonia » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:50 pm

An old couch cushion seems to work fine for me at home, although I've found that as long as my rear-end is at least two inches off the floor I get very few bodily aches -- the source of "lift" isn't terribly important.

I've grown fond lately of one particular curb in the parking lot at work when I'm on break. I doubt I'll ever get butt-calluses though.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:40 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: What do you sit on?

Postby no mike » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:07 pm

daverupa wrote:I primarily use a meditation bench with folding legs; it fits into a backpack. The trick is to get your knees to rest comfortably below your hips so that your back curves properly.


Thank you, this helps me understand the recommendation for the cushion to be about 3" when compressed (Bhante G/Mindfulness, if I recall). Any other tips on proper back curve? I catch myself slouching forward at times.

:namaste:
User avatar
no mike
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: south carolina

Next

Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests