The Heart of the Practice

I spoke out at the Kobun memorial sesshin last July about the need to find words to communicate the heart of the practice that is zazen, as a matter of survival now.

Seems clear to me that unless I act from the place in which I find myself, and find satisfaction in the feeling and close experience of my own necessity, I’m part of the problem instead of the solution when it comes to global warming.

For Zen to flourish, my guess is that more will be required than jettisoning ceremony, chant, and superstition; I think they pretty much did that at Antaiji, following in the footsteps of Kodo Sawaki, and yet 50-minute sittings up to 14 times a day during sesshin hasn’t caught on yet around the world.

I firmly believe that I can teach myself to sit the lotus without pain or numbness, and I think the key is in an openness to the vestibular sense of location and the feeling that goes along with it, and to the responsiveness of location and feeling to necessity and in particular to the necessity of this movement of breath. What do you know, when I get up and walk around, I begin to perceive that necessity at the close of my thoughts; it’s a kind of relief, if I’m open to it.

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