The most important part of meditation is cultivating a balanced mood, a steady state of mind. Mood is vitally important in Buddhism. It’s called citta, and enlightenment is sometimes referred to as a liberated, boundless mood.
A clearing in forest, a batch of light bathing the bare patch of grass. You find places like that, scattered here and there in the woods, existing without any good reason to. They’re just there, open spaces. Fields, groves, and meadows. They’re decent impromptu pastures for rabbits and deer, since they’re usually overflowing with tall, […]
Relax, observe, immerse. That’s the practice in a nutshell. Some people try to skip the relaxation step, but that makes it more difficult to observe something completely and without bias. And it makes it impossible to immerse ourselves in what we’re observing. Any relaxation method is fine, but I recommend one you can use on […]
One thing at a time. That’s the path to a simple life and a straightforward mind (not-two). Instead of multitasking, instead of our minds jumping rapidly from this to that, or trying to balance this, that, and the other thing simultaneously—we’re living one step at a time. Even when we’re not multitasking, we’re usually still […]
All the teachings are just reasons to not grasp at or onto things. The methods are ways to let us see those reasons directly, or to give us the courage to not grasp. The grasping mind is what’s at work behind all our problems. Grasping links things together that aren’t naturally bound up. I have […]
If silent illumination is like waiting for the water to clear and then diving in, and hua tou is like breaking ice and diving in, Buddha recitation is like focusing on the pearl itself until we suddenly see that it wasn’t at the bottom of the lake at all—it was our own reflection in the water.
Yaoshan once asked his student, Daowu, “Where have you been?”
“Walking on the mountain,” Daowu replied.
“Answer without leaving this room!”
The breath isn’t for everyone. Here are some other meditation objects to try out.
Even though anapanasati isn’t orthodox Zen, there’s no reason why it can’t be. It’s such a simple practice that can bring so much joy and ease into life, and we desperately need more of that in the world.
When we get lost in thought, lost in our own stories, that’s taking thought out of its natural habitat and putting it in a zoo. That’s why we often feel trapped in our lives or stuck in our heads.