Aspects of Sitting Meditation


We think we know things very well, but the things we know are still very small. What this sitting does to the whole situation is my question to myself and to you, too. There are advantages and at the same time great disadvantages, too, because when we are actually sitting we cannot do other things. Actual sitting requires our entire involvement, so whatever we really like to do besides sitting cannot be done at the time. That is a great disadvantage. We have to remember that, and make this disadvantage turn to a great advantage . That is the important point.

Once is enough to sit in this life, if the sitting is a real one. Many sittings are better. And whole life sitting is the best. But it is rare to have such luck.

Student: You mentioned protecting zazen the context of concentration because when we sit we are not doing one thing; we are open to other people, protect zazen. Is that because we are going into a situation where it's not safe?

Kobun: The context in which we protect zazen is the force of samadhi. Samadhi is a symmetrical pattern of energy. If you are not careful though, symmetrical energy begins to split like broken glass, and you find unexpected results.

In other words, once in a while you begin to feel very well-centered; whatever you say, whatever you see is perfect. At such a time, you get so high that you begin to preach to other people. After about five minutes you discover that you are at the wrong place, because no one understands you. Many people begin to say that you are in a strange state. Preaching is not necessary to do at all; you become blind about others if you begin to preach to them.

Joriki is the subject. Riki means power, like the force of wind itself. When you grasp something, your grasping strength and the thing grasped which pushes it back balance together. If there is not enough force, the thing will fall off. If there is too much force, it will push the thing. That kind of balance of force in whatever to do, whatever you speak, whatever you think, all go into the situation. So you have to be very careful about what kind of wish you send to other people. This is a kind tantric teaching, though you don't have to name it that. Thought itself, imagination itself, is a manifestation of that force. So keep a kind spirit toward yourself and toward others, and try to balance all things as they all should be. That is a necessary process, in order to use that power.

If your power is scattered in five things everyday, maybe some day the five things will come together, thirty years from now. But it is a very big job. The wisest way is to choose one, one you really want to do. Consign every other thing to the background and you will begin to observe that your doing in itself is completed, not waiting for tomorrow.

The jo in joriki means a stable strength. Usually it appears as a capacity for accepting other people or situations as they are, without wanting to control them By such acceptance you finally become yourself. Joriki is a very strange thing. Unless you sit, it never grows.

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