Koan practice Details Zen Training is a comprehensive handbook for zazen, seated meditation practice, and an authoritative presentation of the Zen path. The book marked a turning point in Zen literature in its critical reevaluation of the enlightenment experience, which the author believes has often been emphasized at the expense of other important aspects of Zen training. In addition, Zen Training goes beyond the first flashes of enlightenment to explore how one lives as well as trains in Zen. The author also draws many significant parallels between Zen and Western philosophy and psychology, comparing traditional Zen concepts with the theories of being and cognition of such thinkers as Heidegger and Husserl. It should be on the shelves of all libraries. Though physiologically technical, it remains personal and practical, focusing on the actual experience of zazen practice.
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Sekida uses the term in a very general way in which it may simply be taken to mean "mental absorption. More than any other Zen author, I feel like his language really speaks to my own, non-officially-Zen, experience.
Man is deprived; circumstances are not deprived. Circumstances are deprived; man is not deprived. Both man and circumstances are deprived. Neither man nor circumstances are deprived. A preliminary note — when Sekida uses the word "man" here, he is talking about what he calls "a certain self-ruling spiritual power which dominates the mind. A famous surgeon was once performing an operation that required great concentration. While he was working there was a sudden earthquake.
The shocks were so severe that most of the attendants involuntarily ran out of the room for safety. But the surgeon was so absorbed in the operation that he did not feel the shocks at all.
After the operation was over he was told of the earthquake, and this was the first he knew of it. He had been completely absorbed in his work, in a kind of samadhi.
We experience this kind of samadhi when we are watching a football game, reading, writing, thinking, fishing, looking at pictures, talking about the weather, or even stretching out a hand to open the door — in the moment of sitting down or stepping forward.
There are various degrees of absorption, various periods of duration, and differences between voluntary and involuntary attention: the differences, for example, between our watching a football game involuntary attention and the surgeon performing the operation voluntary attention. But we are almost always experiencing a minor or major condition of momentary samadhi, so to speak. When we are in this sort of samadhi we are quite forgetful of ourselves. We are not self-conscious about our behavior, emotions, or thought.
The inner man is forgotten and outer circumstances occupy our whole attention. To put it another way: inward concern is absent; outward concern dominates Now, it is important to recognize the difference between true samadhi with self-mastery and the false kind of samadhi without it. In the first, even when the inner man is forgotten, he is not forsaken. The firmly established man is getting along well within, ready to make his appearance at any time. False samadhi lacks this self-mastery from the outset.
There can be fighting samadhi, stealing samadhi, hating samadhi, jealousy samadhi, worrying, dreading, upsetting samadhi, but all without the guidance of self-mastery. These are not true samadhi as it is understood in Zen Another way you could put it is that this kind of samadhi is absorption in the task at hand as directed by the "inner man" achieved through Zen practice.
Grimstone Read preview Synopsis "Zen Training " is a comprehensive handbook for "zazen," seated meditation practice, and an authoritative presentation of the Zen path. The book " "marked a turning point in Zen literature in its critical reevaluation of the enlightenment experience, which the author believes has often been emphasized at the expense of other important aspects of Zen training. In addition, "Zen Training " goes beyond the first flashes of enlightenment to explore how one lives as well as trains in Zen. The author also draws many significant parallels between Zen and Western philosophy and psychology, comparing traditional Zen concepts with the theories of being and cognition of such thinkers as Heidegger and Husserl. Parts of it originally appeared in Diamond Sangha, the publication of the Zen group of Honolulu, and I must first express my feeling of gratitude to Mr. Robert Aitken, who initially edited my articles and prepared them for publication in Diamond Sangha, and to Mrs. Anne Aitken, who typed my manuscripts and generally spared no effort in the work of getting them printed.
Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy
Oct 29, Nick rated it it was amazing If you can get past the irony of learning about ineffable Zen teachings from a book, this is a very good Zen book indeed. Sekida is refreshingly straightforward and clear, and he keeps the koans to a minimum as he describes how to sit, breathe, and think in order to achieve samadhi. Any book that begins with a chapter on "one-minute zazen" gets high marks If you can get past the irony of learning about ineffable Zen teachings from a book, this is a very good Zen book indeed. Any book that begins with a chapter on "one-minute zazen" gets high marks from this impatient Westerner. Recommended if you want to pursue Zen meditation, or if you just want to understand what all the non-fuss is about. But I enjoyed the reading and thinking on the reading.
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