‘The most important things in our practice are our physical posture and our way of breathing. We are not so concerned about a deep understanding of Buddhism. As a philosophy, Buddhism is a very deep, wide, and firm system of thought, but Zen is not concerned about philosophical understanding. We emphasize practice. We should understand why our physical posture and breathing exercise are so important. Instead of having a deep understanding of the teaching, we need a strong confidence in our teaching, which says that originally we have Buddha nature. Our practice is based on this faith.’ (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)
At this distance, of seventeen years, I like to think that it is passages like this that made studying zen seem like a wonderful proposition. I have spoken often of how my first reading of this book felt like a kind of relief, even if I did not really grasp the ideas, because it offered me a new way of understanding the world. This is not something I would want to trade away in this lifetime. Reading articles like this one only serves to underline the value of upright sitting.