ZAZEN
 
- Unless you're really willing to look every bit like a Buddha statue of sorts, 
pick a chair without back-support, sit, put your hands on your knees, keep your 
spine straight, half-close your eyes, and then breath. Bingo
 
You can face the wall just like they do in Soto Zen in Japan...if you really 
want. But....aren't there so many illustrations out there showing Buddha as an 
enlightened individual under some kind of tree, or something?
 
- Sit, and don't think about becoming Buddha, Beyonce, Buck Rogers, or some 
other fantastic character. There are no goals here. Well...yes there is, but it 
would be foolish to get hung up on it. When the Buddha achieved 'satori', who 
is to say in this day and age of ours that the 'satori' he achieved as such 
back then was any more important than realizing today that one doesn't slam the 
door when the fingers are still planted on the doorway? The Buddha realized 
that each and every of creation had 'buddha' nature. Big deal. I had a 
realization a long time ago...you eat too much, you get stomach problems
 
So, sit. Just sit. Forget enlightenment/whatever that is. I'm sure 
(Shunryu)Suzuki-sensei didn't say such things lightly, or without reason...just 
as Dogen said,"All are Buddha-nature"...
 
Satori as such is nothing more than a by-product of practise. I can almost bet 
that each and everyone in this forum has had far too many realizations in life 
already...so many it would be foolish to count for each individual
 
LESSON: Don't make Zen any more difficult or mysterious than it really has to 
be. Folks, there's no mystery. You sit, you breath. Some SE-Asian Buddhists 
I've come across actually believe in some god-like Buddha who will sit in 
judgement over evil-doers in the end. Fairy tales. As Uncle Scrooge would 
say,"Bah!!"...
 
The late Deshimaru-sensei pretty much said,"If you see it or hear it, then it 
must be true"..
 
- In zazen, many thoughts will come and go. I learnt from a young but seriously 
Buddhist Thai boy 20 years ago the following.....
 
1. Pretend you're laying on your back on the bottom of the sea and you're 
looking up at the waves above you. Do the waves stay the same? Of course not. 
One different wave after the other..
 
2. Look up at the sky on a cloudy but perfect day. Lots of clouds pass by, and 
each and everyone is different to the other(s)
 
....and that's basically what happens in zazen. Many different 'clouds' or 
'waves' of thoughts will come and go. You don't hold onto any of them. We let 
them go. Your Big Mind is fully clear and without any obstruction. You see all 
the waves and clouds, and then let them go
 
Now, people will ask...how is any of the above important at all? Fair question. 
Yesterday, I had an earful from a Pentecostal nut-job who just couldn't keep 
his mouth shut about the old carpenter(who was eventually crucified, of 
course). I sat and I breathed, and my eyes were fully open. The nut-job's 
incessant rantings went on, and I eventually got to the stage when all I could 
make out was noise and movement of his mouth(and facial lines, nose-twitching, 
and so on). Did I hold onto each and every word? Hel no! When the train finally 
got to my stop, I shook his hand goodbye and stepped out. Time for other matters
 
ZAZEN as such, does relate to everyday matters. It's ridiculous to 
think...should I be in serious Zen/Ch'an/Dhyana practise, or should I take baby 
steps and see if I like it first? If you're not sure, then don't do it. Some 
people are just not suited to a meditative form of life. That's ok, and it 
won't be the end of the world. Try it in little steps? It's not going to work. 
Zen stabilizes life and puts one's head well and screwed onto one's shoulders, 
to put it in a dualistic way. Testing the waters of Zen is no better than being 
a Hindu today, Mormon tomorrow, Wahabi next month...I mean, what other faiths 
will one test out to make sure it's perfect? 
 
- I want to speak of timing. The Buddha was fortunate in his day because he 
didn't suffer from the following diseases...
 
a. deadlines, schedules, appointments
b. meeting targets/quotas
c. maximizing time for lunacy of some sort or another
d. re-structuring(read JOB CUTS)
e. reading the map for you wife
f. teaching your husband how to listen
g. teaching the dog to play dead
 
....can anybody here think of other similar diseases he had obviously escaped 
from? In this day and age of ours, only a lone and solitary pensioner who 
doesn't suffer from the above diseases can sit in zazen for as long as he/she 
wants without the need for a timer or alarm clock of sorts. The rest of us 
however, have only so much time for zazen...and therefore the need to time each 
and every zazen practise. Me personally? I use the alarm on my mobile phone. 35 
mins. per day(or night) is quite sufficient for me. I have heard that some 
monks can go for 4-5 hours at a time, but I just don't see the point
 
The Japanese Soto Zen temple I go to on occassions has only one 45-minute 
session during the whole service, and the rest of the time is taken up by 
kinhin, sutra chant(I never do, I can't be bothered, I prefer to read quietly 
what's in front of me), announcements, dharma talk, and so on. It's similar 
with 2 other Zen temples I went to, except that each had 3 separate 40-45 
minute zazen periods with the rest of the times being taken up by sutra chants, 
kinhin, and announcements. On my own? 30-35 minutes per day/night. Excellent. 
OOoppss...pride is apparently extra and not needed(*giggles/laughter*)...after 
all, life has enough good to offer and be enjoyed as it unfolds before us 
without busying ourselves with all sorts of dualistic notions...such as useless 
pride..
 
Lastly, I'd like to add this one....
 
Question: What do you think of angels and demons?
Deshimaru-sensei: I have absolutely no idea
 
goodnight Irene/all
Mel


      

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