City Cave Zen

zazen

by Dogo

I like the Thursday online zazen, even when it’s just a couple of us sitting together in different countries, because of the absence of my voice. On Sundays, I give a Dharma talk, and there’s a discussion, but on Thursdays I don’t have to talk, or listen to myself. It reminds me of the essence of sangha: people meditating in shared, contextual, dynamic silence.

#zen #buddhism #zazen #OnlineMeditation #DogoBarryGraham

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by Dogo

One of the most common practices in Buddhist meditation, including Zen, is to simply pay attention to your breath. When you realise you have been distracted by a thought, you label it “Thinking,” then return your attention to the breath.

It is a useful practice, but I question the accuracy of the label. Using the word “thinking” suggests you are in control, doing something, producing the distracting thoughts. But, as practice goes on, you will find the thoughts are there whether you are actively thinking or not, and trying to stop thinking and quiet the mind is just one more activity to be distracted by.

What if you let the thoughts be, just allow them to make their noise, like the background noise in a public place, a chatter you hear but do not pay attention to? You will find that the correct label is not “Thinking,” but rather, “Thoughts.” The thoughts just happen, and they are not your concern, and so you notice they have distracted you, and you return to the breath.

#zen #meditation #zazen #shikantaza #thoughtlabelling #buddhism #dogobarrygraham

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by Dogo

cosmic mudra, hands palms up, left hand on top of right, thumbs touching

Zazen means “sitting in meditation.” It is the heart of Zen practice, and is most useful if done daily. It is best learned from a teacher, who can check your posture and answer questions, but here are the basics of the practice that Dogen Zenji calls “the Dharma gate of great ease and joy.”

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