Q230. My former master gave emphasis to sitting meditation. Do I have to sit for practice?

A. Zen meditation is not sitting itself but keeping your question. Sitting meditation is not the end but one of the means. No matter how long you may sit, it is far from Zen meditation if you don’t keep your question. Even dancing or singing, however, can be a good practice if you can keep questioning what is making your body dance or sing while dancing and singing. In fact, your posture doesn’t matter, whether sitting, standing, lying or walking, if you can keep the question.

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Let me introduce a dialogue between an ancient master and his student:

 

One day, seeing his student sitting on the rock behind the temple, the master started to grind a brick against the rock before his student.

 

Student: “Sir, what are you doing with the brick?”

Master: “I am making a mirror out of a brick.”

Student: “How is it possible to make a mirror by grinding a brick?”

Master: “What are you doing now?”

Student: “I am trying to attain enlightenment.”

Master: “How is it possible to attain enlightenment by sitting?”

Student: “What shall I do then?”

Master: “Which is right, to hit the horse or hit the cart in order to move the load?”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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