March 29th, 2020 Zazenkai talk – Just sitting in troubled times
by tendo zenji
A difficult practice for many is the practice of ‘just sitting’. To just sit in awareness and deeply listen. So many of our practices, especially in Rinzai Zen, rely on words in order to to get us beyond language. But it is eminently worthwhile to cultivate sitting in awareness and the deep silence of our true natures. To be able to just sit and let the thoughts come and go without resting our attention on anything reveals this root silence. Not the silence of quiet, but the silence behind quiet, behind the sounds. This silence is an incredible resource. In it we we can let feelings arise and fully unfold. It can take that energy, however powerful. That energy arises from the silence and it can expand as far as may and then will be absorbed back in the silence. Then what remains is peace.
In these troubled times being able to tap into that resource is vital. But we will always be limited in this practice if our orientation is toward our own well being, toward our self. Seeking solace and peace for our egoic self is of value and worth doing. But to go deeper, into our true nature our aspiration must be one of waking up to our true nature. We do this for all beings sentient and insentient which means in essence we are doing this for our true nature. When that is our alignment we find true peace from that place that is immovable and we are able to do what the moment requires of us.
These topics and more are discussed in the March 29th, Virtual Zazenkai at Tahoma Zen Monastery. Below the fold you will find video of this talk and further information.