Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sitting the Talk

I have been wondering, what if I spent less time writing, talking, and reading about meditation and more on just practicing, sitting, actively engaging in mindfulness throughout my day?

Thanks to @sweepingzen on Twitter, I came across a timely interview with Sei'Un Roshi, woman Zen master, and founder and guiding teacher of the Mountain Moon Sangha.

Particularly this part:

SZ: What book or books might you recommend to someone interested in reading up on Zen?

RS: I don't. If you want to know what it's like to ski, put on the skis and go down the hill; if you'd like to know what Zen is, sit under the guidance of a properly authorized teacher. Three Pillars of Zen gives a pretty good portrait of Zen practise but does not replace getting onto the cushions and presenting oneself regularly to an enlightened teacher for examination.

Makes sense, doesn't it?


  1. Yes, it most certainly does make sense. I think there is a sense that we need to over-intellectualize the process and form of meditation. "Pillars" is great but it is lenghty and requires too much time to digest and then process and apply.

    Living in the rural midwest, I have no "properly authorized teacher" so I need to go with the written works of those teachers but don't want to be distracted from actual practice.

    So, "Finding the Still Point" by John Daido Loori does the job of explaining, in a sucinct manner, how to meditate and encourages you to get started.

    It would be nice to have a teacher but not all of us have that option.



  2. Thanks Jack, for your wise words, and for sharing "Finding the Still Point". I am not familiar with it, and will make sure to add it to my list of readings, practice permitting :}

  3. Oh, a beginner can burn throught that book in 30 minutes. It is meant to give you a feel for the practice and then to get you on a zafu to see for yourself as quickly as possible.

    Nice photographs too.


  4. Thanks Jack! I wish you best in your practice. It takes a lot of courage and determination to practice as you do, without the ongoing support of a 'live' teacher. I think blogging and Twitter are great resources that way, as they provide a ready community of like-minded souls. Masters, students, we are all in the same soup, anyway . . .