Prairie Moon, 2006
MANY APROACHES TO STILLNESS exist, and for a variety of reasons. Health (both physical and mental), restoration, contemplation, and enhanced awareness perhaps comprise the predominant directives. And these approaches vary in their effect on the brain as indicated in scans.
Because of the impossibility of finding a boundary,
Za is a pure, unreasoned way, to activate what we are, in intentional stillness and everyday activity.
Buddhism has “housed” a widespread practice termed dhyana, Chan, Soen, Thien, and Zen, but Zen essence is not exclusive to Buddhism. It is an inherent dimension of human experience.
The orientation of Zen Za Wild Grass is an intention to enter the most basic moment: Suddenly awakening, what did Siddartha see?
Strip away the ritual, sit, at rest.
ZA: sitting, at rest: a method of opening/access rather than a belief:
Concretely: finding comfort and stimulus reduction—knees down (so sitting on something), hands folded, back straight, ears between shoulders, body wrapped in blankets/cloth, perhaps wall-facing, reduced light.
FRESH, Fresh, fresh:
The flow of body and mind
Sitting for just a little time, thought and sensation appear and disappear.
There is this insightful Hinayana sense of (a) sensations and thoughts as well as objects and processes as impermanent and (b) attachment to these experiences causing suffering.
There can be a problem at this point as meditation is very likely to be viewed as psychological process of “letting go” or “sweeping/cleaning one’s mind” to produce a more tranquil and resilient self.
Sitting longer, meditation offers samadhi, a state that is empty of concepts—luminous, not even present moment.
Body and mind drop away
Experiencing impermanence is not the real step in Zen. The big change occurs when impermanence is realized to include body and self as a conception.
There is an insightful Mahayana sense of “nothing outside” that challenges self, and accordingly, makes clinging to self—which is impermanent—suffering. If all is impermanent and our body goes and there is no individual soul to realize, then what are we?
The essence of Zen is actualizing no-self.
Zen Za is Samadhi and satori. Satori/awakening, needs to be perceived directly: what are we? What is our authentic nature? The actualization experience is satori that can occur outside seated meditation.
No longer psychological, awakening does not provoke the appearance of an enlightened being. There is no “becoming enlightened.” This is not possible if we actualize what we are. Inherent enlightenment awakens. That which awakens is everything: many/One as equal, so that a million are also 0.
A thunderclap under the clear blue sky
All beings open their eyes;
Everything under heaven bows together;
Mount Sumeru leaps up and dances.
[enlightenment poem, Robert Aitken translation]
Still, Dogen Ekaku admonishes:
No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.
Beyond body and mind and oneness
And then, embodying the many/one, actualization, not response as if separate, unable to find boundaries . . .