Well…are you just going to sit there?
By Chaim Wigder
Is Dōgen here passing on to us the pinnacle of the Buddhadharma, or a historically obscured instance of plain and simple trolling?
“The essence of Zazen is to just sit.”
So said the Rōshi at the first Zen sangha gathering I ever attended, after about twenty minutes of tedious rituals, including—but not limited to—walking in circles while chanting, placing offerings beside a statue of the Buddha, and bowing in every direction upon taking one’s seat. All apparently important remnants of tradition. Yet these were no more than mere traditional remnants, ancient social practices that, despite being quite foreign to a group of white, middle class Westerners gathering in present-day Massachusetts, were nonetheless an important aspect of “Buddhist practice”—whatever that term may mean. Ritual is extremely important, yes.
Zazen, though: now there is the “it” of it all…
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