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.
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Friday, 17 August 2018
252. If I would experience the freedom that the Zen practitioner aspires to, I must shatter the illusion that I am an isolated, separate, independent, autonomous self. Just sitting still and paying attention to my breath, to my breathing in, my breathing out, I come to appreciate that I have my being from 'other'. Not a bad place to start.
Thursday, 16 August 2018
251. How can I know if my 'unified mind' is in 'accord with the Way'? Some indications: freedom from self-centered striving; no clinging to my preferences; not holding onto opinions. And perhaps the recognition that I am not the best judge as to my freedom from preferences and opinions. Brothers and sisters in the sangha can be a great help here.
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Monday, 13 August 2018
249. The unified mind in accord with the Way presents the seamless integration of body-heart-mind. Here the cognitive, affective and behavioural aspects of the self function together as an harmonious whole. To attain and maintain such a state calls for ongoing committed practice. And so we chant in the 'Four Great Vows': 'Though the Way of the Enlightened One is without end, I vow to walk all along the Way'.
248. Developing samadhi power, that is, learning to focus and concentrate and so unify the mind, is a necessary condition for coming to Enlightenment-Realization. But it is not sufficient. If the unified mind is not in accord with the Way we will continue to be caught in 'self-centered striving'.