In this talk, Meido Roshi discusses methods for integrating Zen meditation and the experience of meditative absorption (samadhi) in daily activities, through the use of the body, breath, and sense.
Meido is the abbot of Korinji, a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monastery in Wisconsin, and the guiding teacher of the international Korinji Rinzai Zen Community. Meido Roshi began Zen practice in 1988 and trained under three teachers in the line of the great 20th century Rinzai master Omori Sogen Roshi.
He has completed the koan curriculum of this lineage, and in 2008 received inka shomei: recognition as an 86th-generation Zen lineage holder empowered to transmit the full range of Rinzai Zen practices. Aside from Zen, Meido is also ordained in the Mt. Koshikidake tradition of Shugendo.
He is the author of two books: The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice and Hidden Zen: Practices for Sudden Awakening and Embodied Realization
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Speaker 1 00:01:09 More practice is better if it’s correct practice again, that’s between you and your teacher, but a lay person, a, uh, at a minimum, some amount of ZZA every day. That’s the first thing, some amount in early days, we would say, uh, some amount in addition to ZZA, uh, what we call internal cultivation or breathing training, because that is what is also going to go into and transform the depth and the power of, and then finally, I would say, uh, if you are a lay practitioner, a wonderful, important thing to do is to establish your own, but your own small altar, and it doesn’t have to anything fancy. I mean, we have traditional guidelines for these things, but a small Buddhist statue, it’s enough, maybe a small inse burner. And then every day, in addition to Zen and internal cultivation training chant, uh, you can do Choa the full, formal, formal, um, morning recitation that we do in rim Zen. If you like, it takes, once you get quick at it, I always say professional speed. It’s about you can do it in 25 minutes. Maybe, uh, maybe in the beginning takes a little longer than that. We also have an abbreviated home practice. Uh, it is taking refuge, the purification verse, the heart Sutra, which is the Dani to remove or prevent fortune dedication of merit. The echo, uh, followed by the four vows.
Speaker 1 00:02:45 That’s formal is the question Facebook group, which is a hotbed of intelligent discussion.
Speaker 1 00:03:47 And then the evening you find time to do the same. Those provide the two islands of, uh, cultivating the Soma condition in the state of meditative absorption. And because you have those as sort of the polls of your day, uh, it allows you much more easily to start to work on sustaining that condition and subject of Zen daily life. That we’re, I could also say that there is this idea. It’s not an idea it’s our experience, but it is traditionally said that the two best times of the day to sit are in the morning, uh, just before Dawn, when the light is coming up in the world. And the wind is changing to young, that energetic shift of the world, everything is waking up. That is an extraordinarily useful time to sit of the effect that has on the, uh, the other one is the other pole Twilight has in the so.
Speaker 1 00:04:53 And so that’s a time it’s very easy to, to, with your body and mind to sort of follow that E state. So recognizing that I would, again, the found of formal practice, sit as much as you can. If you sit a little bit in the morning, a little bit in the evening, fantastic. Those two traditional times are and sit total of about two a day’s. A’s nice. Benchmark’s always that there’s no reason reach yourself. It’s just something we like. In addition to your sitting practice, five to 10, a day of using exercise rapidly, your practice of that will go into
Speaker 1 00:06:18 That makes me remember actually recently on the Facebook group that I mentioned, I said, and I, I think this caused some surprise for some folks. I said that if I had to give up all Z practices, the one that I would keep would be Chah the morning recitation, even if I had to give up sitting co practice, internal cultivation, whatever, if the only practice I could do was chanting every day, that morning recitation dedication of merit, uh, recognizing my own failings, reaffirming refuge, and the four vows dedicating it all to others. That’s a behind. So that’s, that’s just caveat
Speaker 1 00:07:15 The subject to the main subject. There’s a kind view where I could call it a kinda approach, a way of, um, setting our attitude towards our lives that is really going, uh, be the additional foundation for Zen practice in daily life we have. And Japanese we use for this first is, is there are number of words in Japanese use for training or practice. Um, each of these words has a slightly different meaning or connotation for means forging. So there’s some aspects of re E use that word, um, O the meaning has the, or that word has the meaning of catching the feeling or the spirit of something ancient use that lot of martial arts training principle of the old ways of moving transmitted through the, of all those words, uh, that we use for training is probably the most profound. Um, we have defined it this way.
Speaker 1 00:08:48 I don’t where I got this definition from. I think probably from one of the teachers that I to say this, uh, define sugar, this the deepest possible physical and spiritual training, the deepest possible psychophysical training. We don’t differentiate so much between body and mind as you know, we body with a H and more the deepest possible training of them. What is should go in terms of our view or attitude toward life, or how do we approach life as should go? That’s question one of my teachers, Umi, modern people, human in general, to tend to blame conditions, other people, the times that they live in culture, um, you can think of, or anything that makes them uncomfortable. Anything that makes them feel less than confident or fearful, anything that makes them feel unhappy. Uh, they tend to look for, or seize upon something external to blame and not, shall we say the conditions he saids is exactly the opposite, the view, or the attitude of a practitioner ORs shop, which is another name for a Zen practitioner, Aho person.
Speaker 1 00:10:18 Is that anything that makes me uncomfortable? Anything that makes me fearful anything that I’m not good at? Anything that reveals my weaknesses? Um, my instability, my moral failings, anything like that, that I encounter whenever I feel that way, I look immediately here and say, what do I need that in a nutshell is, should you now sugar does not mean that if, uh, you know, I feel uncomfortable about something because someone is doing something inappropriate that I shouldn’t address, that it doesn’t mean we accept injustice. We, we have to work with and deal with conditions, of course, but the fundamental attitude of the practitioner is that all of those things are the mirror for my own existence, my own character, my own function, and the weaknesses in that people who make so Z practice in daily life has to take that its fundamental approach. It means entire world laboratory for, to, to test myself, as they said, amazing, um, chance to refine myself and to, you know, by identifying those weak spots, uh, weak points, start to change them, start to T um, what we say, uh, you know, there’s another famous Zs saying, you know, you may have heard this one, Kojo Kojo means the correct mind, straightforward, correct mind, or, you know, mind, heart Kore here, or there is the dojo.
Speaker 1 00:12:30 The dojo is the correct mind. So we don’t view a dojo as a building or a place dojo means training. Of course we have such places, but if we take that attitude, that life is sugar. Everything I encounter is training. Everything I encounter is an opportunity and a mirror and a chance to transform that is the so-called correct. We that’s of through life is a word that is no longer radicals go through life, refusing every circumstance, my own weaknesses, my lack of clarity, my lack of psychophysical, strength, whatever can that attitude up as a foundation of your practice, you’re almost there in of, so every circumstance, every meeting, every email, every of your reveals something, if you start to take that mindset and set up your mindfulness, uh, in a very vigilant manner to observe, observe constantly, what am I experiencing as I encounter all of these different conditions?
Speaker 1 00:14:22 How skillful is that? Is that without judging? It’s really you ultimately, you do anyway. Uh, if you can do that, then I don’t know how we could say you depart from Zen practice. I think in that way, you are automatically deeply doing Zen practice in daily. That is, should I hope that’s clear? Um, I might be rambling more than usual because of, but I I’m very passionate about this subject. So I hope that’s coming little bit, the great gift I got from my teachers. Wasn’t practice methods, standing to that to use circumstances. And, you know, we say in training of if the practitioner is like a blade that we’re trying to forge and then sharpen a razor, I guess a lot of people, their approach to life is like this and them approach of studio is to find that attitude or that where whatever you encounter, it’s, we’re still grinding.
Speaker 1 00:15:36 You’s Thater somehow that was the great gift I got from my teachers and observing them, living that way. Even through some of the circumstances they faced in their life like itself worded is this a in Ze, especially we itself is called, is a hard to translate, but it has the feeling of creatively grappling or working with something. Um, not in sense, grappling, not in the sense of struggling and exhausting oneself. Although that part of creativity aspect of though almost like problem solving kind of feeling, but with one’s whole body with one, all of one’s energy engaged. So I, I like to use the word grappling or wrestling with something with one’s whole body mind that’s and that is the, you learn that quality from co practice. It’s one of the amazing things that co practice gives us. It’s the way to Doho. In other words, if is this kind of attitude of using conditions rather than blaming and treating the whole world as my training is the way we do that.
Speaker 1 00:17:31 It’s the, the creative problem solving that happens when we meet difficult conditions. Quantum training really keeps us that that capacity and what it means is ultimately we don’t view any circumstance, even the most horrible ones, as socalled bad as something to be solved, something or something to be worked with sometimes solve is not the right word. Sometimes accord with is all we can do. Not fixate is all we can do, but that the ability to see through situations and creatively adapt to and work with them, that is the part of the fundamental attitude or approach of the so not doing justice to the here, but I’d like to move on from there. Um, those two, I, I really like you to remember because they’re so important and CFU they’re words that don’t have really adequate English translations. We can call training, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t plum the depths of it, uh, CFU, you can call it creative problem solving, but it’s something much more whole being than that. So CFU, it’s what Zen practitioners do. And I think in your own training, if you’re not what those words really mean, you definitely training is directed into, we call Zen practitioners, even in some of the recitation we do on a daily basis in the monastery. We don’t call Zen people. We call questions, this, this moment, anything pressing anyone,
Speaker 3 00:19:39 Your presentation and your to doing these talk, could you just in the chats, the spelling for some of these terminologies so that we can look up in our own time, like
Speaker 1 00:19:50 The that’s
Speaker 3 00:19:51 The dojo,
Speaker 1 00:19:57 Great idea I’m doing right now.
Speaker 3 00:20:01 Thank you.
Speaker 1 00:20:02 You’re very welcome. Dojo actually is a, uh, kind, a famous thing for people to brush. You can find Calli of that fairly, fairly commonly. So it’s a good, it’s a good one to know. You may start to recognize if you see scrolls for example. Okay.
Speaker 2 00:20:31 So
Speaker 1 00:20:33 Let’s talk more concretely in terms of what, what your practice actually is. If you have this foundation of formal daily practice, and again, we have to always specify that the practice should be rightly directed, rightly directed means that you’re doing it with guidance from someone and that you doing it, uh, that prescribing practice for you, which self guiding practice is a difficult thing to it’s. It’s not something recognize possible for, but when that practice starts to come to some fruition, now we talk about how do we bring this concretely into daily activities? What happens the moment I get from, for training teaches, we have this wonderful practice called king walking meditation. And I guess, um, as I did for many years, especially when I was a beginner, more of a beginner, I viewed king with great appreciation. As the time you get to stretch your legs, you get to refresh your body so that you can sit again. It’s a break in other words, but you start to realize pretty quickly that if you approaching ly, oh, looks was muted. Did you catch there?
Speaker 4 00:22:26 We can you
Speaker 1 00:22:31 Muted? I something horrible you to shut me.
Speaker 4 00:22:37 Not at all. Uh, I dunno what happened there.
Speaker 1 00:22:39
Speaker 4 00:22:40 Sorry.
Speaker 1 00:22:41 No problem. Um, what I was saying is we, what we learned from king hen is that it’s this amazing opportunity. What Kenya’s walking meditation to start to learn how to integrate the meditative condition in the most simple activity, which is walking. So the first suggestion I have talking practically now, uh, about how to put your training into daily life is when you’re sitting, whatever you’re experiencing and you’re sitting, or I should say, when you start to experience some basic stability, clarity, one pointedness in you’re sitting, and the time comes to end the sit you’re sitting on your own. Maybe you have a, you know, alarm that goes off or something like for a moment before you don’t up, but when it’s time to stand up, do so very slowly and with great attention to your condition, start to see if the simple act of standing up, uh, or during that simple act.
Speaker 1 00:23:42 If you are able to maintain the meditative condition that you had while you were, if you can do it while you’re standing up, or you stand up into position, and then you start to take a few in the usually walk quickly, a few steps, very slowly. Can you sustain that meditative condition in that process of standing up and taking four or five steps? It sounds lots though. It’s amazingly difficult. It’s like breath counting. When you, when you learn the so count breath, counting method, you learn pretty quickly. I can’t even get to two
Speaker 1 00:24:56 And if you can eventually start to understand how to hold that condition during kin, he seamlessly until you then sit down for the next sip. That’s where you’re gonna learn everything. It’s an amazing, amazing practice. So that’s my first advice is, is please view king. He not as a break, not, uh, it is, it is a way to refresh your body. I mean, that’s true, but thus, to extend the meditative condition seamlessly through the training of een and into the second sit is so incredibly important. It’s so foundational to our Zendo training that I would like, especially lay folks to, to pay more attention to it, even to the point that, you know, after you’ve been sitting for some time, even if you’re not sitting for a great period of time, maybe you’re sitting for a half hour, half hour fine. It’s a respectable period of time. That’s only to sit is just sit for about your business. Even better that sit for two periods of 20 minutes, five minutes can in the middle, just extend it and add that practice in the middle. That’s gonna something that really you a, you perform very task that you, without a great of conceptual proliferation, pour cup tea, sustain meditative, those physical move, which means now we’re looking at and breathing still. We’re making sure that when I go to pour the coffee, I’m not introducing aberrations into my body. I’m keeping everything.
Speaker 1 00:26:53 So movement itself starts to become meditative in a sense, and you pour that cup of coffee is what I drink and sip it. And you attend to the flavor without judging it. You, you, you maintain that threat through an activity, which you usually do mindlessly very prosaic activity, but the, that activity involves movement involves some basic level of thought. You know, you have to get mug, make the coffee, whatever it involves, the sensory stimulation of the flavor and the swallowing, um, eating and drinking are activities that are often ones in which we fixate very strongly, you know, judging the flavor is a good, better kind of thing. So, you know, these amazing opportunity and this very simple activity, so maintain a one point non abiding state of clarity through action.
Speaker 1 00:27:47 So those are two suggestions in the beginning, uh, right from the beginning, you can add
Speaker 1 00:28:38 So I hope that all make sense. We’re talking about somebody, somebody, the state of about Soma Soma is a state of meditative absorption. Um, people often ask what Soma is. It’s not something mysterious. Um, it’s not a state of trance, although there are types and depths of somebody which have that kind of, uh, flavor, but in the, in the most useful and, and, and simplest way, we can say the Soma is the state of clarity in which the mind does not fixing on anything. It’s, it’s, it’s not a static stillness, it’s, uh, a free movement. The image often used is a, a ball or a, a Gord, something hollow that floats thrown into a rapids. And as it goes downstream, even if it hits a rock, it doesn’t stick. It goes around, it can flow with any conditions. So we we’re cultivating that state of mind.
Speaker 1 00:29:27 Inza breath counting, for example, learn ultimately not to fixate on the, of anything in mind or body, and we learn to maintain or sustain a state of, but then when you stand up to do meditation or cup you out right away, how hard it to hold wants to, or fixate on not everything and anything, not just thoughts, of course, but so called exterior objects. The minute I reach for my coffee mug, I’ve got a few mugs in the cabinet. I start to give rise to kind of judging. I like that mug. I don’t like that mug. I mean, it’s as simple as that suddenly the mind stops or the minute I taste the coffee, oh, this coffee is, or is good. That moment.
Speaker 1 00:30:28 It’s so humbling. When we start to about Zen and daily life, we realize that we are not even the, we call ourselves Zen people. We are not Zen people at all for most of the day, but until you start to work with that again, AFU of working with those simple daily activities, you won’t be able to transform that. So physical labor is a great one. Um, sweeping, I always love sweeping something about that movement. I could put the whole body into it and even the sound of the, on the, the floor. So about it, uh, really useful for me, you may find something like that that works really well for you.
Speaker 1 00:31:07 Um, when we start to work with trying to sustain this as Soma condition, you know, Soma’s not itself awakening, but somebody is what removes the obstructions to awakening. And somebody ultimately also is what allows us to, uh, sustain the face of awakening, you know, all of our activities or to have it permeate our body. So somebody’s a very important thing to grasp, to start to cultivate. Uh, when we start to do this, we understand that the most effective way to do it, and the most effective activities to use for that in daily life are generally going, be physical activities. It’s not in the sustain somebody condition through an activity, which is quite conceptual, like reading, for example, or listening to someone speak. We can, we must learn to do that too. But in the beginning, something that really uses the whole body and mind in a unified way is going to be the most useful approach.
Speaker 1 00:32:08 Uh, so another sort of saying that I’d like you to think about, uh, we often say that Zen is accomplished through the body. It’s not a primarily psychological activity. It’s not a primarily an intellectual activity. The reason that Zen training is so powerful is it’s psychophysical. It harnesses our whole existence. That’s how we cultivate Soma using the breath, the body, the mind in unity. So what this means practically for Zen and daily life is as going through your daily activities. And what becomes the anchor for you? The, the sort of focus of your mindfulness as you go through your day is this, uh, practice of constantly cultivating or constantly being aware of breath and posture. That’s a saying I’d like you to remember constantly refine breath and posture. What those few words point out is kind of the structure that starts to go through your day in all activities of how to start to sustain the state of clarity.
Speaker 1 00:33:16 And I start to think here of, uh, even activities like working at a computer. Um, I did a video on this, not long by popular demands, a relevant topic for, we work on our Z training. When we have to sit at a keyboard, for example, and engage with that stuff. We can look at it from the standpoint of how we’re using our body. Um, there’s a way to hold the posture, which enables us to remain more clear. And there’s a way to cultivate the breathing. We learn in our training, which we have to make seamless and constant, even when we’re doing very nonphysical activities like tying on a computer. So again, uh, during your daily life, you set up your mindfulness, you set up your awareness in such a way that you’re just gently, constantly observing. How am I using this body? Uh, you know, my keyboard is here in such a way that it puts tension in my body.
Speaker 1 00:34:15 I have to notice that, and then I may change it by changing where the keyboard is. We start to adjust and move things in such a way that it supports this mind, body usage, no different from ZN, but now in all the, the mundane activities that we do all day long, I always use the example of when people out glass of, or something like that, a Zen trainee for glass and the done drinking. Do they place it in a place that is easily reached and allows them maintain the relaxation and the bodily unity, raising the glass body cup, raise this coffee cup up. Only with my arm. I have tension in the body and that will not be a way of moving that supports.
Speaker 1 00:35:21 But if, when I reach for the cup, there’s a reaching with the whole body. I will never reach for just the reach. The whole posture means from the earth. The whole frame in an integrated way is reaching. I reach my out. My of gravity has to, so now I feel with this where the cup starts. Whereas if I reach for less efficient, more dualistic feeling, I’m reaching for a cup. So again, in daily life, constantly refining breath and posture means looking at the smallest movements and activities. Am I reaching for the coffee cup, with my whole being and body. And now as I raise it to my mouth, do I introduce tension by splitting my arm off from the rest of my body? Or do I, in a way that supports the whole body integration? I mean, these are the, the minutiae that we start to look at.
Speaker 1 00:36:27 If you asked me to sum up Zen training and daily life, the one way I would say it is what I did say constantly refine breath and posture. The other way I would say it is tend to everything. There is no physical movement that is unimportant, or that is not part of this training, did a video on, uh, on how to brush your teeth. As I said, and people brush their teeth in a way, you know, I don’t, I don’t care how they’re training themselves all day long. Their, their way of movement is so graceful and perfect and unified. And then they go to brush their teeth and they do this and they put attention back into the body and they lose that condition of clear. But there’s a way to brush your teeth. When you raise the toothbrush up, we pay attention to that minutiae of stuff, new stuff.
Speaker 1 00:37:16 And I would also say sometimes you brush your teeth with the other hand. So you can balance the nervous system. You righthand dominant balance it, change which side the computer mouse is on. That’s part of in daily life. You start to look at how to again, find posture and breath, ceaselessly, endlessly, the smallest activity, because that is what creates the skeleton. That the so condition can be the flesh around through the day. I don’t know if that makes sense, unless you have experience of that, but I would just encourage you to start to look at the smallest movements that you do, how you’re now, how you’ll move when you, after this presentation is even something as, as reaching for, are you doing, being in a unified way that supports the one pointed you subtly sabotaging your practice by losing the principles, movement, physical activities, or physical, sweeping, anything where you use the whole body in a gentle unified way. Of course, other arts like martial arts arts for can movement of the person, if they’re doing it with their whole existence, or if something is left out, something is split. That’s why those activities are so amazing and valuable too.
Speaker 1 00:39:11 So I’ve been talking for about 45 minutes. Um, I hope I hope I’m not completely unclear. As I mentioned, I’m little cloudy topic. So what I want get from know, sound daunting about observing anding to the minutia of everything you do every moment of your existence, but it’s not daunting and it’s not exhausting. It’s amazing. It’s, it’s nothing is boring anymore.
Speaker 1 00:40:41 How can I use this situation, the emotional impact of this, this person, who’s difficult, this illness in my body, whatever to support my, my fundamental way of addressing life or, or approaching life as opportunity as a grindstone to sharpen rather than blunt. And again, within that every single activity, how am I using my posture? How am I using my breathing? That will be the practical, uh, approach that actually supports this in my condition, our, uh, practice, as I often like the lecture is, um, people’s great annoy I’m sometimes I never stop talking about it. It, but what we’re doing is a YOIC practice. It’s it comes from AIC of spirituality. It means that this is our vehicle for realization. We don’t have a splits. We don’t have a split of mind, practically speaking in we’re all of them in a unified way. That’s what ZN is meant to teach chest.
Speaker 1 00:41:57 So if you can start to look at every single small activity as an opportunity to sustain that, look at how the different ways of using your body in the simples activities of brushing your teeth. For example, change this experience the way of experiencing, and again, based on the foundation of your formal daily practice and this approach, or this view of life as that laboratory training hall, where everything that senses itself to me as conditions, whether they’re socalled in or outer are remarkable, energetic waves to accord with, and to, to rather than toed, don’t have to worry about in, there’ll be a moment where you will not be able to say that there’s difference between sitting and activity.
Speaker 1 00:43:01 That is an amazing, wonderful place to at. So I wish that for everyone, and I hope something in this talk, some clues on how to do that, um, just to harp on the practical stuff again, constantly refin, breath, and posture, so important, please. Don’t, uh, you know, getting up from sitting and making a cup of coffee, whatever works for you, find something like that, that you can then use as a bridge to learn how to bring the Zaza condition to every moment. And then when you really wanna challenge yourself and you think you’ve mastered all of this, then start to deal with people. And, um, then also I was joking with Andres. One of my teachers said, if you really want to do intense Zen training, uh, get married and have children, which I have not done. So I’m not a master.
Speaker 5 00:44:37 Hello, first, thank much for this wonderful and very it’s midnight where that I thank you. The thing that I wanna share and ask you is I’ve been practicing for a long time by myself in the, in the beginning, I had a, but the, the thing that the teachers didn’t tell was what happens after the ZN, always the teachers, they talk about how to breathe, how to see properly. And that was something I always tried to search. And I couldn’t actually find an answer for a long time because everyone talked about, and, and, and at the end I found an answer from, uh, I don’t wanna, uh, I don’t wanna any, any somethings mindfulness nonstop as I got out that found out that his way of mindfulness was coming from the tradition from, I dunno, maybe this, I just could we integrate that mindfulness practice to our exam practice, even it’s from the
Speaker 1 00:46:15 Sure. There’s no conflict at all. The, the meaning is the same. And when we talk about mindfulness in terms of practice, what we mean simply is that we recollect, or we remember to return again and again to the method. I mean, that’s the most basic practical way to describe our experience of mindfulness in of something like we have expression also of Forza means really in the deepest, beyond our transcend, so called method you’re using, um, you would be a lecturer in and of itself, but I recommend for you to read the platform, Sutra, the six patriarchs record, he describes very clearly what we really mean when we use the word, uh, not limited to this act of sitting on a cushion. I think if you read that you wouldn’t find no conflict between that and what you’ve read or experienced from different upon. Um, but if you’re asking if it’s okay to integrate the practices from different traditions like that, I would say the answer I would give immediately is you should ask your teacher, if you don’t have a teacher, I don’t think that there will be any conflict between what you describing and
Speaker 1 00:47:44 How could there, I mean, bud is bud. What’s important is we, we follow a coherent path of practice, but especially if you’re talking about techn, I see, I would see no conflict at all, but platform suture, Zen. So I, it okay. Answer for you.
Speaker 6 00:48:10 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:48:12 Okay. Thank you.
Speaker 4 00:48:15 Thank you. We have one more question from Chika.
Speaker 7 00:48:21 Nice to see you. My question is, um, uh, so on LA this past week on Sunday, I, um, went to this, uh, event, this online event, uh, between this, uh, Tibetan Lama, uh, Lama Willa baker and her guest Lama Paulden, uh DRMA and the latter, I just found within a couple of minutes of just listening to her. I felt like I, I really want this woman to be my teacher. And, um, and so I, I don’t, I don’t know if she’s, well, I, I think she retired from, or stepped back from teaching. Um, but she does something like spiritual counseling, but it, it, you know, it, this is, it, it costs money and stuff like that. And she’s in London, she’s not here, you know, and it’s, there are all these practical things. Um, and I’ve, I’ve been embedded in my school for a while. And I don’t know if it’s, it makes sense to, um, I mean, I, I, I, yeah, I don’t know if it makes sense,
Speaker 1 00:49:24 If it makes sense to explore another teacher, you mean?
Speaker 7 00:49:27 Yeah. Just to really throw myself into it.
Speaker 1 00:49:31 Well, if you have an existing relationship with a teacher, that’s one person you should talk to about it. And then the second person you should talk to about it is the person that you’re interested in. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:50:20 So it’s important to honor that if it’s time to sever that relationship, then do it, do it in the way. I think that that’s an important thing to consider. It’s, you know, we get hung up on teacher, student relationship stuff sometimes because in our own minds, we build it up to be special. But to me, it’s no different than any successful human relationship, honesty, communication, open lines of communication, and, uh, saying what’s on your mind, just, just being clear with each other care, taking for each other, you know, that teacher, student relationship is two ways. You may feel you have some obligation to the teacher, but the teacher also feels a obligation to you. So honor that and let them fulfill that also by letting them know what you’re thinking.
Speaker 6 00:51:10 Hmm.
Speaker 1 00:51:10 Does that make sense?
Speaker 7 00:51:13 It makes sense. Um, it makes sense. I, I, yeah, I, I have to figure out a way to, to, to say it in a, in a way that doesn’t, you know, diminish my, uh, gratitude for, for my teacher now.
Speaker 1 00:51:32 Yeah. That, that’s a nice way to put it’s that’s creative luck.
Speaker 4 00:51:49 Go for it.
Speaker 8 00:51:52 Thank you very much. This was really wonderful. Uh, a lot of insights in this talk, so thank you. Um,
Speaker 1 00:51:59 I
Speaker 8 00:51:59 Was just wondering, I was just wondering if you could speak on, um, with the constant observation of how you’re performing things and going through your daily life, um, and looking at the minutia, um, is there a way you could, uh, address, you know, not getting too fixated or especially for people who are really, really perfectionist, um, and not getting too yeah. Really, really fixated on, on that sort of thing and how I’m performing tasks and almost in a robotic sort of way
Speaker 1 00:52:32 Mm-hmm
Speaker 8 00:52:35 Question.
Speaker 1 00:52:36 No, it makes complete sense. And it sounds paradoxical because we’re trying to cultivate the mind, which does not fixate. And yet it sounds as if the training is to fixate on everything, right? Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:52:47
Speaker 1 00:53:30 It’s just, we recognize that it’s a part of the mind, which is not engaged in the practice. So we pull it back in and that, that process again, and again, is something that we engage in. That’s what we call mindfulness. Um, rather than observation, I guess when I talk about attending to, or, or, um, you know, working with the constantly changing conditions and the minutia of every movement and so on, it’s more the quality of throwing oneself body and mind completely into it. Now, of course, we’re cultivating a form and relaxation and breathing the, all of these things take time to unify. Um, we can be attending to our breathing for example. And then we forget to keep the body relaxed. It is like when you learn to ride a bicycle and the first time, and you concentrate on the pedals and you forget the handle bars or something like that, but eventually it all starts to function.
Speaker 1 00:54:18 Then once that starts to function, something simple, like, you know, brushing your teeth. It’s not so much that we’re obsessively fixating on every small movement, but it’s more that within the vessel or the form of, of correct usage of body mind, I’m throwing myself into that seemingly mundane activity with my whole existence. So brushing the teeth becomes the universe. The toothbrush is not separate from my body. My body is not separate from the room. We start to have that kinda experience. Just, I guess I, I use the word attending to, but attending to me means becoming, throwing yourself completely into even the smallest thing in the beginning, I guess, you know, if I’m paying attention to how I pick up the coffee cup, like I described, yeah, there is a stage where it’s a little fixated or you’re learning the form so to speak, but once the form is embodied, and I understand how to unify myself with the mug so that it, that simple act becomes an act of training.
Speaker 1 00:55:24 Then that’s where it becomes. So amazingly, uh, pleasant to encompass everything in practice because that simple act of drinking coffee is something I’m doing with my whole being. And it feels, feels remarkable, remarkable to do so. No difference between that and completely counting the breath or completely breathing the, or doing anything else in my life there, I, I cannot differentiate that simple act from what I do in SA ZZA is stillness. So it’s easy to, easier to learn that quality there, but now we have the challenge of putting it into movement. So we have to look at how the body’s being used, how the breath is being used and all of that. Uh, yeah, in the beginning, it can seem like fixation where you have to be aware of that part of the mind that wants to split off and watch us do it. But in general, I, I, I wanna speak more in terms of throwing yourself body and mind into every moment’s activity as if it were your last act on earth, or, you know, joyously, the, the spirit of Z training has been described as like a warrior charging on a horse with his sword held high into alone into 10,000 enemies.
Speaker 1 00:56:42 That’s a, that’s a interesting image. It’s not about conflict or war or fighting, but it’s that spirit of complete abandonment and almost joyous, uh, just this exists. Just, this is what
Speaker 8 00:56:58 Makes a lot of
Speaker 1 00:57:00 Around, like helps this from time to time, if it helps you,
Speaker 8 00:57:04 More of a full engagement rather than a real sort of nitpicky, but it’s more of a yeah. Fullness of engagement yeah.
Speaker 1 00:57:13 And activity in your life where you’ve experienced that athletics love art. We, we have, you know, I often joke if people can sit and watch a movie on that they’re really into unmoving for two hours just wrapped, but then they complain that half hours O and it’s hard to sit still, you know, we can do it, we know how to do, and that becomes that as amazing as that movie.
Speaker 8 00:57:41 That’s great. Thank you very much.
Speaker 4 00:57:43 Thank you. We have a quest, well, three questions coming. Uh, how are you on time? We are, it’s already fine
Speaker 1 00:57:55 To me. It’s to me it’s eight hours later. I don’t care. I’m fine.
Speaker 4 00:57:57 Awesome. Awesome. Alright. Uh, let’s go one by one then first Asiel.
Speaker 9 00:58:03 Yeah. Well maybe thanks a lot for your, um, uh, for your talk. Uh, have couple of clarifying questions. Um, first, uh, can you please explain again, what’s, uh, sort of benefit or purpose behind, uh, putting your full mind in every activity? Like what we’re I’m I’m I’m I understand that we’re trying to cultivate, uh, Somali conditioning in all our activities, but what’s a like ultimate goal of doing that. And also, uh, it seems like apart from your body breaths, there are also other elements, like sounds external internal, also body sensations, and it’s kind of hard to, uh, to sort of unify all of them and put it into activity. So is there a more, like a progressive way where you start with couple of elements or combination of some of them, and then gradually grow to the fuller? You have to just try to do it, um, with all the elements, um, from a beginning. Um, so yeah, those two questions.
Speaker 1 00:59:05 OK. Those two questions are a whole lecture
Speaker 9 01:00:17 Yeah. So, so you are answering the question of why we’re cultivating the natural way of doing things.
Speaker 1 01:00:25 Yeah. I mean, you, you know, you mentioned the senses. I just wanna stress that. It’s not that we’re jumping around to the different senses and examining each of them mm-hmm
Speaker 1 01:01:24 Again, Soma different types of so different depths of, so it’s, it’s, it’s a profound subject, but we can say that the, so that we value in Zen is that quality of non abiding. Because from the Buddhist standpoint, what we call delusion or bono is the moment that the mind fixate stops and the biggest fixation of course, is the fixation upon the false sense of is eye or fixation upon the kind of subject object way of experiencing. As soon as I fixate upon an object, which is separate from me, then we have that split, right? So that quality of fixating or stopping object of desire, object of aversion object, which is I or not, I, that is the kind of the, the root that we strike at with this cultivation of non abiding, non fixating, uh, Tawan. The great Taho wrote about this. I’ve mentioned this text before Fuku, um, I can write it in the chat too, in various in translation, from the standpoint of things, one of which is martial arts of people are, if a bunch of people are attacking at the same time with swords and your mind fixates on one of them, even though your technique is perfect, the next one gets you.
Speaker 1 01:02:43 So what we cultivate and Zen isn’t the mind, which is static and still, but it’s the mind that can flow. It’s what I’ve been talking about.
Speaker 1 01:02:53 That quality, even if we cultivate it very profoundly is not itself awakening, but it’s starts to dissolve the habitual delusion or, or it helps us to start to see through it. Uh, we say that it starts to dissolve the obstructions to awakening. So right from the beginning of our Z practice with something like SoCon, we’re starting to cultivate that or to bring that to fruition. When we do have the clear arising of the knowledge or experiential knowledge we call potential or awakening, somebody then becomes the way that we integrate that. Or I should say that the sort of seamless, uh, sustaining of the face of that knowledge or the upwelling of that through time is accomplished through, it’s also made to penetrate the body to, to, we can embody it through that non abiding. So that is in unity with wisdom become of awaken it.
Speaker 1 01:03:54 So somebody becomes the vehicle for that pre postal training. We could talk about it from that standpoint, but the thread that runs through it all, or the field within which that cultivation takes place we said is if, but right from the beginning, if your practice is rightly directed, you start to have the experience of a different way of experience of, of experiencing a different way of seeing. And you start to understand, oh, this is what we, they mean by somebody, even if it’s a shallow, somehow things are less rigid. Somehow my update fixation on I II is a little less, somehow my minds habit of seizing upon every thought and emotion that arises is less that’s, that’s some money. We start experience that profound more and more broad. The it’s transformative. It’s not awakening by itself, but it’s, it’s wonderful. It’s amazing. It’s nice. And then when we have the clear awakening, we then how somebody becomes the, to deepen that, refine that, embody that, and sustain the, that make sense all, does that, does that make sense at all?
Speaker 9 01:05:15 No, it, it does. It does make a lot of sense. And just to clarify, so we cultivate it technically correct incorrect way. Uh, the fluid mind can be the mind that, um, attention goes to different objects, like thoughts, sensations without actually getting stuck on them, or we developing a more sort of expansive awareness where all those things arise and you just, instead of like observing them, you, sorry, engaging you, just like just observing from that awareness and trying to at the same time, uh, function with your full life as it, if I’m making sense,
Speaker 1 01:05:57 It’s, it’s nothing mysterious. You know, you, you probably had to experience in your life where you were talking to someone and then maybe when we’re kids, right, you’re talking to someone and then someone throws a ball at you, you minds naturally miraculously have those kinds of experiences. Uh, the image we use classically for this kind of condition of mind is the thousand arm. You know, the, of compassion with thousand arms of each of the hands has a different implement in it. Vara fan flower V and so on and in the middle, there’s the state of complete clarity and non abiding functioning, but the arms each can miraculously do what they need to do. But if conone at some moment says, oh, I wonder how the VA is doing. I think it’s doing a good job all the other arms fall apart because that’s the moment of the, of the, so I guess in a daily activity, you start to look at the places where your mind gets pitched. Oftentimes an object of desire, a fantasy, or a, a fear, something I don’t like a moment where the minds sort of naturalness and freshness and, uh, ability to function in that free flowing manner contracts. You start to be able to see that when we start to see how often that happens to us, uh, there’s somebody practice the cultivation of somebody is what enables us to start to, again, work with that and start to change that habit.
Speaker 9 01:07:35 OK. Thank you.
Speaker 1 01:07:37 I hope that’s helpful.
Speaker 9 01:07:39 Its
Speaker 4 01:07:42 Uh, we have one question from Gary. Please go ahead, Gary. Uh, I think you’re muted.
Speaker 10 01:07:53 Yeah. Anyway, thank you. Made a more, uh, thank you. One, one thing that I, I do and that I would like maybe just, uh, brief how you integrate that is every evening I read a little something for half hour to hour before going to bed sort of like, uh, reflections or devotional sort of things. I may be struggling with something and I may have a number of books and I pick up and I look for something people say different people say on that topic. Uh, so how do you integrate that sort of thing or what’s your experience of integrating that sort of thing in daily practice?
Speaker 1 01:08:39 I mean, I don’t know if it’s so different from integrating anything else, uh, do it with your whole being
Speaker 10 01:08:45 Right.
Speaker 1 01:08:47 Do it completely and read it completely and try to, you know, we have a way of reading sometimes where we’re skimming the words and giving rise to our own sort of fabrications about the words, but can you something especially devotional or um, you use the word devotional, I think of poetry, for example, can I really contact, we would call the ki the energetic resonance or the essence of what the words are expressing. Of course it’s my own objection too. Right. But can I remove myself from that? And just with my whole body mind in a unified way, maybe even at how I hold the book, I’m reading, what’s my condition as I’m reading. Can I have the experience that the whole room is, or is it I’m reading that, you know, DAZN teaches us how to experience in a different way. So you can put that into reading. But the beyond that I would say, man, read like, that’s the last thing you’re gonna do in your life is those pages. And, and with, with the, the joyous abandon of that guy, holding his sword,
Speaker 10 01:10:22 Thank you.
Speaker 1 01:10:25 And you know, when you’re reading stuff too, it gives rise to thoughts and feelings about, you know, coming from what we’re reading. And we look at that too, that too, and that, that the text becomes a mirror for us too. So you can learn a lot, not only from what you’re reading, but also of course, what it starts to give rise to. You know, when I read poetry, for example, I, I, all I, all I see is my, I dunno my past relationships or whatever. I, I start to see how I project my own stuff into the meaning of the words. And the more I can see that the more I start to like go of that a little bit. And I feel like I get more from the text that was probably intended by the author.
Speaker 4 01:11:23 Thank you. Uh, Lilian, I thought you raised, I think you raised your hand.
Speaker 11 01:11:28 I did. I, yeah, I did. Thank you so much for doing this. It’s beyond the beyond. Uh, could one call this, uh, non abiding or summarize this by, uh, perfect relaxation,
Speaker 1 01:11:51 I guess so. Yeah. I mean, I’m continuously amazed in practice, how much I discern that it’s a releasing of something rather than an adding of something and yet the intense, energetic commitment and yes. Effort to arrive at that place. I have to recognize too, you know, practice I’ve used this example a lot, but the practice to me is we don’t need to make it mysterious. Sometimes there’s this, I think this conflict between so-called, uh, uh, people talk about having gaining mind as if it’s an obstacle or people talk about, oh, you don’t have enough intensity or effort in your practice. You know, there’s this kind of conflict between those two camps. And I think it’s a real red herring. I think it’s it’s nonsense. We don’t need to make it so complicated. Um, when we think of any, for example, I’ve used this example, a marathon runner, yes, incredible commitment, whole body, and mind thrown completely into an activity.
Speaker 1 01:12:59 And yet within that, the form so relaxed, so effortless and natural cause the practice is at such a high level or the training is at such a high level, but that’s, to me, that’s an example of how ours training has to be. My I’m not gonna spare myself at all. If I can overcome my own inertia and laziness, I’m gonna throw my whole being into training because I happen to think that’s what is the best way to spend my life. But within that, there has to be a naturalness of relaxation, a releasing and effortlessness. My training has to get to the level where both of those can manifest without being in conflict with mine. Otherwise we tend to stress, which of those approaches just fits our character. We prefer, or we’re more comfortable. And that also is a mirror. Maybe I need to cultivate the other side.
Speaker 1 01:13:50 If I’m someone who’s comfortable with intense effort and exhausting myself, one pointedly doing something I might need to cultivate the side that can chill out a little bit. Most people have the other problem.
Speaker 11 01:14:30 It also be blissful then
Speaker 1 01:14:34 Can also be what
Speaker 11 01:14:35 Blisful
Speaker 1 01:14:37 Blissful.
Speaker 11 01:14:38 Yes.
Speaker 1 01:14:40 Yeah. I’d like, I’d like more of the blissful.
Speaker 11 01:14:46 Thank you. Thank you so much.
Speaker 4 01:14:51 Have one more question. If you allow me, uh, regarding your talk, I’m thinking, okay, how do I really like start embodying this practice every day? Right? And then you are mentioning refining the breath and, and the poster, but breath wise, I was thinking, should we approach it from sort of attending so cool breath cultivation way or more from a yes. Observing and following your breath way, you know, more like session or more energetically or maybe both. Can you expand on that list?
Speaker 1 01:15:29 Yeah. And, and I, I don’t know what I’m about to answer, answers your question. So please let me know. But, uh, even with my own students, there’s sometimes a confusion because we have so much, or we have such a richness of breath, cultivation methods that come with our lineage. We have this thing called TKU the breath method centered on the Naval energy center. You know, we talk about that stuff a lot. And I mentioned earlier that the daily formal practice should include along with maybe chanting to five or 10 minutes cultivation using those methods start.
Speaker 1 01:16:05 That doesn’t mean we become to Simon’s point obsessive or fixate upon the breathing. We practice those methods as exercises. But then when we do ZN, we let it naturally soak into the ZN. The ZN will start to change naturally as we practice those methods outside of ZN, same thing in daily life. I mean, yeah, we we’re aware of what’s going on in the body. If the breath comes out from, from deep, natural or relaxed abdominal breathing. And I start to realize I’m breathing in my chest out of anxiety, I should notice that and I should change it. I should bring it back down in the way that we learn in general, I’m not going about my daily activity, obsessing about my breathing or, or trying to work on something like toda and so TDA. And so those method like H’s Nik for example, is a and so in my start to see how my effortless or, or unconscious breathing slowly changes over time, we find eventually that with some great surprise, well, the shape of my stomach has changed.
Speaker 1 01:17:16 I’m actually breathing differently than I used to. I’m not trying to, but because I’m doing that training during a particular time of the day, each day, the rest of the day starts to change also said, uh, that error of beginners with this kind breath cultivation is to use too much effort and strength that eventually it should become unconscious, almost more of a feeling than a physical usage. The we get to that stage is by doing the exacting and some in the beginning seems difficult practice of things like P or before that just basic belly breathing, making sure that we’re grounded in that, but then during the rest of the day, yeah, we’re aware how we’re breathing, but we should start to see over time that, that natural unconscious way of breathing itself changes cause of the practice that we did, not that we’re doing the practice all day. Does that make sense?
Speaker 4 01:18:16 Uh, it makes sense. Uh, I can see, for example, how you may tend to keep a rounder stomach because the a is, well, you are used to written deep down into the baby, but then things like closer that closing the lower gates, do those come naturally too? Are they supposed to come naturally? Or we are not, we shouldn’t concern with that.
Speaker 1 01:18:41 That’s the that’s, that’s what we do during the method of the practice. Right. Of content and of Nikon, you know, those various things out when breathing stuff that you’ve heard me talk about. Yeah. During your life, I don’t walk around making sure my lower gates are sealed
Speaker 4 01:18:56 And it doesn’t happen natural either. Or does it,
Speaker 1 01:19:01 The transformation will come naturally. You don’t have to worry about it.
Speaker 4 01:19:06 Okay. So got
Speaker 1 01:19:08 It. Our, our, our goal is not to start 27, doing something that’s unnatural, but what we’re doing 24 7 will change because of the practice that we do.
Speaker 1 01:19:21 You know, the, you know, the old, um, old Japanese saying about the three directions at navs point. I don’t anyone to get to get obsessive about your Naval right now. But there’s an old saying that if your Naval points downward, uh, you, you not healthy. You need to do something about that. Naval straight ahead, youre, a normal person, your Naval points, upward it’s evidence of that. There may have been some cultivation going on. So that’s why when you see like a statue of Pote or Bhima, for example. So if, if you see ones with a belly showing in, in the iconography, the belly’s usually quite round and the navs up here, right? Cause this, this is the belly, the navs pointing that way. That’s not just artistic convention. That’s showing something about the understanding of how to use the body. That kinda stuff is encoded in the iconography in some cases. So doesn’t mean you should walk around all day trying to make your, it means if you do this training over time, you may notice, whoa, that’s weird. Something changed. My solar plexus is concave. It’s soft. And the Naval points up a little bit. Oh, okay. Something changed, something shifted. And that that’s that’s it happens organically that way. You know, when we talk about the breath cultivation, just like Zaza, we’re talking about many years of practice. We don’t need to be in a rush.
Speaker 1 01:20:43 Please. Don’t walk around ceiling. The lower gates all day long.
Speaker 4 01:20:48 Yeah. Yeah. Well, I haven’t started yet. I was done it.
Speaker 1 01:20:57 My team. One of my teachers, I always said, you know, talking about training, close your ass. But uh, other times he would say, you’ll ask too tight
Speaker 4 01:21:06 So
Speaker 1 01:21:07 In a daily life, we should be, we should be relaxed, be natural and let the training transform us rather than try to seize on the training in each moment and balance that against the seemingly paradoxical instruction to attend to everything with your whole being
Speaker 4 01:21:26
Speaker 1 01:21:29 This is this. My teachers use this gesture a lot. It’s not this, it’s not this it’s this. So good luck with that.
Speaker 4 01:21:38 Thank you so much. Me for that’s amazing as usual. And thank you everybody as well for being here for sharing this moment.
Speaker 1 01:21:46 Thank you so much.