Sunday, 9 September 2018


260. Alone in the bush at Gorricks Run:

                    mid-night wake-up call -
                    thunder lightning rain and hail
                    beat upon my tent

                    high hills half hidden
                    in this early morning mist -
                    a zen ink painting

Tuesday, 4 September 2018


259. Sitting in the prescribed meditation posture best enables you to 'arouse your entire body' with its many parts ('its three hundred and sixty bones and joints and its eighty-four thousand pores of the skin'). But more is required than physical involvement. You must also 'summon up a spirit of great doubt'. You must come face to face with your pure, unformulated question, your wonderment at life, the world, and all it contains. With both body and mind fully engaged, you must now concentrate, focus, bring all your energies to bear 'on this one word "Mu"'. And here you will find yourself asking, perhaps almost despairingly, 'What is Mu?' 

Monday, 3 September 2018


258. Just sitting and paying attention to ... what? Well, there's a lot going on: sensations, perceptions, mental reactions, consciousness. The 'ten thousand things' are right here, in this place, at this very moment. (And you thought 'they' were all 'out there'.) But where is Oneness?

Sunday, 2 September 2018


257. Master Sengcan writes: 'Do not search for the truth; only cease to hold opinions'. This might sound like giving up on Truth (with a capital T). But this is not so. Rather it would have us examine all those 'truths' that we think we know and see just how many of them are simply opinions. Here  Plato's theory of knowledge might prove helpful. For him opinion, no matter how well informed, does not rise to the level of knowledge. Having tested the knowledge content of our various opinions let us go on to see just what we really know about the big issues in life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Then we should be in a better position to see where we stand in relation to Truth.  

Saturday, 1 September 2018


256. Go to the circus and watch the trapeze artists in action - fliers and catchers. Learn about letting-go and holding-firm.  

Thursday, 30 August 2018


255. Zazen is an embodied form of meditation in which we 'cut off the way of thinking' ( Master Mumon). And the way to do this, according to Mumon, is to 'arouse your entire body with its three hundred and sixty bones and joints and its eighty-four thousand pores of the skin'. Leaving aside Mumon's counting of body parts, we focus on what is involved in arousing the entire body. And what is needed here is, in the words of the philosopher Izutsu, 'the dynamic power of concentration'. This whole body practice of zazen is nothing less than the embodiment of mind through the development of samadhi power. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2018


254. Sitting quietly with no goal. Just paying attention to the sitting. Feeling embodied in this sitting here, in this place, now. What is sitting? Who is sitting? Feeling tension, feeling relaxation. Noticing sounds. Noticing silence. Noticing sensations, thoughts, desires. Watching what comes, what goes. Nothing seems to be happening (yet there is breathing in, breathing out, the pulsing of the heart, the racket of tinnitus, the tensing of muscles, the relaxing of muscles, the seeing of sights, the hearing of sounds). Sensing time, duration.