Showing posts from October, 2012

Stillness, Silence, Truth

Stillness, silence, truth – just like the words to that Beatles song: “These are words that go together well, my Michelle.” Stillness, silence, truth – I knew the first two as a child and completely took the third for granted. After all, we need not have a word for air in order to breathe it deeply so that it may become us. Stillness, silence, truth – this was what I spoke of in Returning To The Source. The Buddha innately knew it as a child, and so did I. (And I suspect that you did, too.) No…, it is not so much a matter of knowing it as being it – stillness, silence, truth. It is what the Buddha returned to after a long and arduous search, and it is what I now return to (albeit, with varying degrees of clarity) each time I sit zazen – stillness, silence, truth.

“Zazen is the most venerable and only true teacher.”
This was the second of seven points of practice laid out by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi in the last formal talk he gave as abbot of Antaiji monastery. Does it sound radical to you…

Throwing Away Your Toys

Some years ago I had the good fortune to stumble upon a weeklong meditation retreat in the wooded Uplands of Indiana led by a teacher whom I’d never heard of before. With the exception of its duration and the fact that it was in a natural setting and in the Soto Zen tradition, I had no idea what to expect. My job, simply enough, was to show up and remain open to experience. Anyway, after arriving and taking one look at the schedule posted on the door of that little rustic cabin turned zendo – the fourteen daily periods of seated meditation (zazen) separated by brief periods of walking meditation (kinhin) – the first experience that I opened up to was that of fear! Fourteen fifty minute periods of zazen each day! Could I physically take it? Could I mentally take it? I didn’t know!

The schedule struck me as dauntingly unrelenting – nothing but zazen and kinhin interspersed with just enough time to eat and sleep and attend to the barest of personal hygiene needs. Why were there no perio…