Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not One Other Thing to Hide From.

Zazen can sometimes be misused as a place to hide, as a place to protect ourselves from the world, or to feel superior, 'transcended', 'more enlightened' etc etc. Sometimes we might get absorbed in aspects of our self in doing it and abuse it to protect, and even enhance, such thoughts and feelings about our self. This, of course, is inherently selfish and is not the very real, tangible conduct of 'dropping body and mind' as proposed in Buddhism.

Zazen allows us to receive everything and everybody without exception as our own life. We can drop our involvement with our usual comfort zones and narratives for a time and revel in the great diversity of our life unlimited. In sitting firmly upright, and allowing ALL our usual 'stuff' to just come and go, we can learn and clarify what Buddhism is really about.

I came across this quote from a great Chinese Master in a book by Robert Aitken Roshi last night:

You who sit on the top of a hundred foot pole,
Although you have entered the Way, it is not yet genuine.
Take a step from the top of the pole
And the universe in the ten directions will be your entire body.



  1. Hi Harry,

    Ego is mischievous indeed. I can twist anything, including zazen, to inflate itself instead. I guess that's what happened to religions today; an attached social identity instead of a tool of liberation.

    Nice post :)

  2. Hi Rizal,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Personally I don't believe in the ego... it's just a theory, and I think people have come to think of it as something that it's not (like it's a real thing, or a bad/evil entity or something).

    Besides, what Freud meant by 'ego', and what most people sort of mean when they say "ego" is pretty different, so it's an imprecise term also (I study psychology for a college course I'm doing and we have to use the term in pretty precise ways in reference to various models/theories).

    I think what Buddha discovered under the Bodhi tree is that the sense of self (and the selfish, desirous, sense of self as represented by Mara in the old accounts) does not exist as some sort of seperate entity or thing.

    Of course, we need some sense of self to survive in the world, and to relate to it also.

    It seems to me that "the ego" (as if it is a thing) is a big distraction to a lot people these days. I think the Buddhist practice of just letting our thoughts and feelings come and go is already free of what people might be referring to when they use the term 'ego' and so it's not a big problem.

    When we stop believing in the ego, when we stop that activity of accepting both our good and/or bad thoughts and feelings as 'me', then we see instantly that we are not confined to 'I', 'me' or anything like 'ego'.

    All the best,