Monday, 8 April 2019


307. Counting the breath is an excellent way to develop samadhi power in doing zazen. But if we drop the counting and focus on just following the breath, we find ourselves engaged in a much more subtle practice. Now the breath is experienced as an inhalation that begins of its own accord, has a duration that comes to an end without any decision on our part, then turns into an exhalation that likewise has a life of its own. In just paying close attention to this breathing-in and breathing-out, we notice that it doesn't ask anything of us. It just goes on whether we pay attention to it or not. At the same time we notice how our heart beats so many times during the in-breath and so many times during the out-breath. And this beating of the heart seems to be making itself felt in the lower abdomen which rises with each in-breath and falls with each out-breath. Following the breath we become aware of how it seems to enter into the various places of tension experienced in our body, arms, legs. Here we might ask, 'What is my relationship to this body that lives and breathes without needing permission from me? Who am I in this living, breathing body?'    

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