22 Sep 2010 Leave a comment
At first glance this seems like an obvious answer.
Of course zazen is meditation!
I'm reading Sex, Sin & Zen, Brad Warner's new book. Of all the crazy stuff that Brad has talked about so far (I'm about 100 pages in) the strangest to me was when he posited the idea that Zazen is not meditation.
Before anyone gets up in arms, I suggest you go read the book.
I'm not the type of guy who uses post it notes when I read, though now that I'm trying to write decent reviews of books, maybe I should start.
So to paraphrase Brad, he says that meditation whether Vispassana or Metta or what-have-you all ahve a goal in mind some kind of point. Zazen lacks this. To try to gain something by zazen practice you defeat the purpose of zazen practice. Meditation is all about gaining control or calmness or peace or maybe even enlightenment.
Zazen is nothing. It's boring. It's jsut sitting there. There are practices that beginners sometimes do to help train thei minds for shikentaza (literally just sitting) but these aren't something that are ment for long-term practice. I still count breaths if my mind is especially turbulent or I haven't been getting to the cusion regualrly, but most of the time it's jsut sitting and watching my thoughts and a weird spot on my wall.
So is Zazen meditation? Maybe maybe not. Brad thinks not, but he isn't definitive, as Zen teachers never are, or at least never should be. Opinions too strongly held become attachments. Plus, that would be an extreme view and thus not on the Middle Way