Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why the Hell am I Doing This?

For as long (not very) as I have been doing zazen (sitting meditation) a certain line of thought inevitably pops up: "Why the hell are you doing this?... What is the point? Ooooh you're gonna get all enlightened, totally zen..." Stuff like that.

"If you expect something from zazen you have created two goals: zazen and the purpose of zazen. If you want to do zazen, just do zazen.

Perhaps you may ask 'Why should I do this?' When this happens, what you must do is just forget any expectations you have about zazen and just sit."

--paraphrased from Steve Hagen's comments in You Have to Say Something by Dainin Katagiri

"To some people, thinking about how to solve all the world’s problems might seem very important, how to help all the people in the Third World, how to set the world right. Compared with these things, watching our breath seems insignificant, and most people think, ‘Why waste time doing that?’

People have confronted me about this, saying: ‘What are you monks doing sitting there? What are you doing to help humanity? You’re just selfish, you expect people to give you food while you just sit there and watch your breath. You’re running away from the real world.’

But what is the real world? Who is really running away, and from what? What is there to face? We find that what people call the ‘real world’ is the world they believe in, the world that they are committed to or the world that they know and are familiar with. But that world is a condition of mind.

Meditation is actually confronting the real world, recognizing and acknowledging it as it really is, rather than believing in it or justifying it or trying to mentally annihilate it."

--from Now is the Knowing by Ajahn Sumedho


gniz said...

Hey Muddy

Good post, I wish you'd update more frequently but i'll take what i can get!


muddy elephant said...

Thanks as always Aaron. I'll see what I can do about posting more.