Something to consider every now and zen.
I’m becoming increasingly interested in Zen. It’s something that’s been drifting around the periphery of my attention for some time, but lately, I’ve decided to pay a little more attention. Brad Warner was brought to my attention as an ordained Zen practitioner (if that’s the right term for him) who has retained a good amount of his punkish attitude. I’ve only found one of his books at the library, Sex, Sin and Zen, which was interesting enough, but his sense of humour sometimes rubs me the wrong way. I appreciate that his criticism is consistent in that it seeks to cut the extraneous nonsense out of practice. Do zazen, and forget all the mindfulness, enlightenment talk.
Having gotten a taste for it (and doing zazen as much as my still old legs will allow), I signed up for an introduction at the White Wind Zen Community. In the meantime, I read Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, which at its heart repeats the same ideas as Warner supports. I’d subscribed to Suzuki’s facebook feed (he died in 1971), and have been receiving occasional quotes from the man, not really knowing much about him. This is often how my life seems to work out. Serendipity is a very real force, and the key to it (and to Zen practice) is paying attention.
Next, I picked up the Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau. I read it over a decade ago, and figure I’d see what new perspective would add to the reading. So far, it’s similar stuff to what Suzuki & Warner have written, which is encouraging. There doesn’t seem to be huge discrepancies at the heart of it, although different “schools” practice in different ways. I imagine that these differences are more in the details. Every time I sit down to read, within a few pages, I’m eager to sit in zazen some more. It’s getting easier, but I still can’t get my legs into the preferred position. It seems like it’s attainable given patience and time. We’ll see.
Zen and theAbysmal
Having just dipped a toe in the ocean of Zen practice, I’m hardly qualified to draw any conclusions and make any statements about it, or, I am already, and should just sit down and shut up.
My recent foray into Zen keeps bringing up the idea of theAbysmal Centre, which I’ve been playing with for years now. There is a commonality of theme, in that it represents both one and zero, the centre and the perimeter, everything and nothing, being and non-being, etc, along those lines. It is the realization of self at its most fundamental as perfect in its current incarnation – one just needs to take down all the window dressing to see it.
I’ve had such positive experiences with meditation of late that I’m seeking a regular place for practice. It’s much easier sitting in a room full of other people than to do it by oneself (provided the others aren’t playing Call of Duty – that’s a more advanced exercise).
261 Days to Dec 21st 2012
- We read the shit out of that book (blatherskiteblog.com)
- Becoming calmer and calmer (mydestiny2011.com)
- Are we there yet? (wilfredgalila.wordpress.com)
- Zazen (zazenlife.com)
- Manage Your Anger Through Zazen (managebetternow.com)
- A New Year and a Beginners Mind (echopen.wordpress.com)
- It Works: Doing One Thing at a Time (psychologytoday.com)