How to Practice · Meditation - Zazen · Zen - Study

Zazen – Zen Sitting practice – notes

Jundo Cohen – Roshi – Treeleaf Zendo

Remember that the result of this “Just Sitting” (shikantaza)  is sitting vibrantly at the center of all the world, with nothing more to attain and no other goal besides sitting. Not one other place to be or thing to do in the world during that time of sitting (no matter what in life awaits after). It is not sitting like a bump on a log, twiddling our thumbs or waiting for something to happen. Nor is it analyzing why we are sitting there, comparing our sitting to other sittings or other activities, and the like. Nor is it worry about whether thoughts are present or not present (even as we let thoughts go, don’t grab on), pondering whether one is sitting right or not (if you analyze that, you are doing it wrong! ), measuring the experience. Just sitting should be beyond all human measure.”

So, just to make it clear, I would say “do not analyze and judge” and “if finding oneself caught in trains of thought, gently open the hand of thought and let it go, returning 10,000 times and 10,000 time again to the breath/posture/open spacious awareness (whichever is one’s current centerpoint during Zazen).” Of course, we do have to “notice” that we are caught in thought to do so, but it takes the emphasis away from “noticing” as what we are supposed to be doing. It should be more like “notice and let go of even noticing.”

And even when centered on the breath or posture, I would say to “stay centered, but do not overly notice or think about the breath/posture” etc. Leave the focus lightly there, or lightly adjust the posture, but do not think “breath” or about the posture more than necessary.

“Looking at such things as the slump of the shoulder, the droop of the body and the slump of the hand Mudra (or overly tight aspect of all of the above too), one case tell whether the sitter’s mind is drifting or getting sleepy/dull (or is overly straining).”

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