Qigong and Meditation

Hi! Here is a very interesting article about meditation from the site of qigong - http://dzendo.org

– is not quite a proper term. It became widespread in the West when the champions of eastern self-development methods (Svami Vivecananda, Shri Chin Moy, and others) just borrowed this word from the vocabulary of European theosophical community.

As homage to western mentality, it was done to ease understanding of some terminology for western people.

Although the word “meditation” may be used to describe psychophysical “medium” between sleep and being awake, it reflects the main point not to the whole extent. Besides, psychophysical states practiced by theosophists of the 19th century, Europe did not have much in common with the states practiced by Eastern Masters.

The word meditation originates from the words medium and media that mean “the middle” and “something or somebody who stands between”. In this connection we may remember the mythical sorceress Medea.

This way theosophists and mystics of Europe used to stress their ability to contact the supernatural during their trance and to be the mediators between that “weird” world and “this”.

Later, the Chinese Qigong Masters used the word meditation as a term while teaching western students.

Often meditation is understood as concentration, in other words – exertion of mind and attention.

But here, the proper state is total and complete relaxation.

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 I'm leaving livejournal for new pastures.  I'm going to write a Buddhism themed blog over at yukontodd.wordpress.com if you want to follow along, ask questions, shout insults, throw money, whatever.

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A little dogen.


The way is basically perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent upon practice and realization? The dharma-vehicle is free and untrammeled. What need is there for concentrated effort? Indeed, the whole body is far beyond the world's dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from one, right where one is. What is the use of going off here and there to practice?

And yet, if there is the slightest discrepancy, the way is as distant as heaven from earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion. Suppose one gains pride of understanding and inflates one's own enlightenment, glimpsing the wisdom that runs through all things, attaining the way and clarifying the mind, raising an aspiration to escalade the very sky. One is making the initial, partial excursions about the frontiers but is still somewhat deficient in the vital way of total emancipation.

Need I mention the Buddha, who was possessed of inborn knowledge? The influence of his six years of upright sitting is noticeable still. Or Bodhidharma's transmission of the mind-seal? The fame of his nine years of wall-sitting is celebrated to this day. Since this was the case with the saints of old, how can we today dispense with negotiation of the way?

You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.

For sanzen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs. Do not think good or bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thought and views. Have no designs on becoming a buddha. Sanzen has nothing whatever to do with sitting or lying down.

At the site of your regular sitting, spread out thick matting and place a cushion above it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, you first place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, you simply press your left foot against your right thigh. You should have your robes and belt loosely bound and arranged in order. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left palm (facing upward) on your right palm, thumb-tips touching. Thus sit upright in correct bodily posture, neither inclining to the left nor to the right, neither leaning forward nor backward. Be sure your ears are on a plane with your shoulders and your nose in line with your navel. Place your tongue against the front roof of your mouth, with teeth and lips both shut. Your eyes should always remain open, and you should breathe gently through your nose. Once you have adjusted your posture, take a deep breath, inhale and exhale, rock your body right and left and settle into a steady, immovable sitting position. Think of not-thinking. How do you think of not-thinking? Non-thinking. This in itself is the essential art of zazen.

The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the dharma-gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality. Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like a dragon gaining the water, like a tiger taking to the mountains. For you must know that just there (in zazen) the right dharma is manifesting itself and that from the first dullness and distraction are struck aside.

When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both unenlightenment and enlightenment, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the strength of zazen.

In addition, the bringing about of enlightenment by the opportunity provided by a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and the effecting of realization with the aid of a hossu, a fist, a staff, or a shout cannot be fully understood by discriminative thinking. Indeed, it cannot be fully known by the practicing or realizing of supernatural powers either. It must be deportment beyond hearing and seeing - is it not a principle that is prior to knowledge and perceptions?

This being the case, intelligence or lack of it does not matter, between the dull and the sharp-witted there is no distinction. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is negotiating the way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward in practice is a matter of everydayness.

In general, this world and other worlds as well, both in India and China equally hold the buddha-seal; and over all prevails the character of this school, which is simply devotion to sitting, total engagement in immovable sitting. Although it is said that there are as many minds as there are persons, still they all negotiate the way solely in zazen. Why leave behind the seat that exists in your home and go aimlessly off to the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep you go astray from the way directly before you.

You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not use your time in vain. You are maintaining the essential working of the buddha way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from the flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, destiny like the dart of lightning - emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.

Please, honored followers of Zen. Long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not be suspicious of the true dragon. Devote your energies to a way that directly indicates the absolute. Revere the person of complete attainment who is beyond all human agency. Gain accord with the enlightenment of the buddhas; succeed to the legitimate lineage of the ancestors' samadhi. Constantly perform in such a manner and you are assured of being a person such as they. Your treasure-store will open of itself, and you will use it at will.
Kwan Yin

Can anyone here help me out by answering a query please?

I am a librarian trying to do some research following up a query and am not getting very far! I need information on the history (and meaning) of the practice of making little piles of stones like this:

When I google 'Zen' and 'stones' I either get lots of pictures of them (not much help!) or a reference to a music player called the Zen Stone! Can you help with any information or possible links?
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From my journal...

Buddhism has lots to say about lots of things. It talks about Dukkha and the four noble truths. It talks about karma and co-dependent arising. It talks about reincarnation and anatta ("no-self" or "no inner core"). It talks about impermanence.

I've been trying to say this for a long time, to write this, that follows. Buddhism isn't about whether those things are true or not. Buddhism is about how those things are true. In what manner are those things true. Buddhist practice is about finding the truth of karma, the truth of reincarnation, the truth of dependent arising, reincarnation, and what selfhood is all about and how and what about it is illusion and delusion.

The conversation shouldn't be about "do you believe in karma". It should be about, "how do you think karma functions...what IS karma to a Buddhist?"

That'd be a beginning.

* Anger, Hatred, and Zen ~ Ammended

We as Buddhists, are often affected by acts of injustice or hatred.
When we learn that a toddler has been sexually abused, our hearts go out for that child. We feel much sorrow for that child's negative experience. When we learn that millions of people were marched into a large room where they and their relatives are systematically gassed to death, we emote certain feelings about that negative action that was executed against them. When we learned that millions of people were enslaved, lynched, shot, beaten, and unnecessarily humiliated, just because of their skin-color, we emote certain feelings about the injustice served to those people.

I think that we can all agree that the horrible deeds done to all of these people should be considered as despicable actions. Since actions are not human beings or sentient beings, it is perfectly permissible to "hate" these actions. Hating hatred is a healthy mental exercise. However, hating people who hate is quite self-destructive and is in direct violation of the Mahayana Bodhisattva Ideal. We cannot maintain the goal of leading all sentient beings to nirvana, while hating any portion of our family. Unfortunately, those horrendous actions were taken against the innocent, by seriously deluded members of our own family.

Hating Nazis, Klansmen, criminals, or rapists would be like having one of these people in your nuclear family and feeling hatred towards them.
These people after all, are members of the human family, they are sentient beings. As such, we have taken a vow to seek their spiritual freedom. We can only do this from the vantage point of love and compassion. Yes, I know it can be difficult, but we as Buddhists, and particularly as representatives of Zen, must have both the mental and spiritual resolve to feel our floodgates overflow with compassion for both predator and prey, both the culprit and victim alike.

How do we do this? We do this through our practice. Daily meditation of Shikantaza (Samatha and Vipassana if you wish) and Loving-Kindness. We do this by becoming intimately engaged with the phenomena in which we're dealing. So, we protest against that which Nazis stand for, not Nazis! We confront Klansmen and their issues because of the nature of their issues. Sure we can have civil debate, that is just one educational option used to expose the ignorant behavior for what it is. * However, we strive not to become engaged in physical violence. It is our duty to restrain from physical violence. Our goal therefore, is to always make every effort to employ the "turn the other cheek" philosophy, as much as is humanly possible.

To become angry about certain ideas, concepts, and actions is quite normal and should be permitted. To hate hatred and delusional ideas that thwart us from our Noble eight-fold path is commendable. However, under no circumstances should we allow ourselves to hate the deluded people sponsoring such illusionary ideas. Our anger about their delusion should be tempered before it becomes hatred for the deluded ones.

Our anger towards their delusional ideas should be only temporary and then it should be monitored, tempered, controlled, and then extinguished. When this is done, hatred has no foundation upon which to stand!

Socially Engaged Buddhists fueled by the compassion cultivated by their practice are a power to be reckoned with. This is especially so when powered by Zen!

No Anger! No Hatred!