‘How exactly do I know what is wholesome, harmless & balanced? The practice of zazen itself can be the beginning of this investigation. This practice is central to zen. We sit down, become still, observe the workings of our own minds, bodies and hearts, pay attention, notice the causes of activity, notice the results of activity, refine and adjust, returning to Vow. This is what I believe Dogen later called ‘resolute stability’ in his extended zazen instruction named Fukanzazengi. We practice zazen meditation simply for the sake of meditation itself (no gaining idea!) We sit simply perceiving the present moment as it is, a convergence of myriad conditions. Who perceives this moment? Recalling Katherine’s wisdom, “The big Self posing as a small self.” Within this interval of non-judgmental present-moment awareness, compassion naturally arises. The thinking mind and the feeling mind can communicate. The heart opens, compassion expresses itself without seeking anything in return. Contrary to an assumption that meditation is self-absorbed disengagement from day -to-day life, meditation simply frees us from the constraints of our limiting habits. It would seem that meditation frees us so that we can be compassionate. But actually, it’s the other way around – compassion is the vast territory out of which the capacity to tend to the moment arises.’ (from the Santa Cruz Center website)
A third consecutive post from teachers I have practised with over the years.