“Just Sitting” Meditation Group

Group meditation and discussion, broadly in the tradition of Sōtō Zen but open to anyone who wants to meditate with others in a relaxed environment.  No need to believe anything.  Leave your baggage at the door.  Meditation cushions and tea provided.  No cost.

Thursday evenings in Nonington

Contact Andy: 01304 842673 or amclellan70@gmail.com

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“If you are unable to find the truth right where you are,  where else do you expect
to find it?” — Eihei Dogen

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Next Thursday Sitting on 14 August

Thursday meditation is sadly not possible for the next few weeks due to school holiday child care commitments. 

Andy

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Just Sitting

“There is no expression with deeper meaning than that of the word “just” in “just sitting.” No matter what, throwing away the activity born of ignorant doings, you sit there, which means you are not being fooled. You stop delusion and sit.

“But most people can’t do that,” you say. That’s because they hold onto delusion. “Delusions rise again. There’s nothing I can do.” You shake your head and shake off deluded thought, thinking, “Now it’s fine.” Then, “They’ve risen again.” For an hour you keep shaking your head, but there’s nothing you can do. Grasping delusions and trying to push them away, you think they will disappear.   Just stop that, stop deluded thinking. Because you give these delusions your attention, they keep coming back.

Just cease deluded thinking and sit. The highest work a human being can do is to cease deluded thoughts. Zazen means just sitting. Don’t be deluded. Don’t think “good”, don’t think “bad.” It is said, “Clarify life, clarify death, that is the most important meaning of Buddhism.” Truly, just sit. That is all there is.”

– Motoko Ikebe

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Zazen

Zazen is like a vast sea, a world without limits, it shines like the moon, spreading its limitless light.  This is Dogen famously extolling zazen.

When I’m asked what is the purpose of zazen, I have to say no purpose.  As I’ve often said, sit, body upright, backbone stretched, breathing through your nose, mouth closed, eyes open, sitting resolutely.  Zazen is basically becoming intimate with the self — the dharma of becoming you.”

– Kōdō Sawaki Roshi.

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The Practice of True Reality

The practice of true reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection. When you have fathomed this you cannot be turned around by external causes and conditions. This empty, wide open mind is subtlety and correctly illuminating. Spacious and content, without confusion from inner thoughts or grasping, effectively overcome habitual behavior and realize the self that is not possessed by emotions. You must be broad-minded, whole without relying on others. Such upright independent spirit can begin not to pursue degrading situations. Here you can rest and become clean, pure, and lucid. Bright and penetrating, you can immediately return, accord, and respond to deal with events. Everything is unhindered; clouds gracefully floating up to the peaks, the moonlight glitteringly flowing down mountain streams. The entire place is brightly illumined and spiritually transformed, totally unobstructed and clearly manifesting responsive interaction like box and lid or arrow points [meeting]. Continuing, cultivate and nourish yourself to enact maturity and achieve stability. If you accord everywhere with thorough clarity and cut off sharp corners without dependence on doctrines, like the white bull or wildcat [helping to arouse wonder], you can be called a complete person. So we hear that this is how one of the way of non-mind acts, but before realizing non-mind we still have great hardship.

Hongzhi Zhengjue

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Daily Life

“What I do every day
Is nothing special:
I simply stumble around .
What I do is not thought out,
Where I go is unplanned.
No matter who triers to leave their mark,
The hills and dales are not impressed.
Collecting firewood and carrying water
Are prayers that reach the gods.”

- Layman P’ang

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Metta Sutta (The Buddha’s Words on Loving-Kindness )

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

From Acccess To Insight

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There is no I in Awareness

“Books about Buddhism always go on and on about ‘awareness’ and ‘mindfulness’.  But these ideas are easily misunderstood.  Being ‘mindful’ to most people, means bringing ‘me’ into the situation.  ‘I’ am mindfully reading this book.  This is a mistake…  In real mindfulness, book and reader disappear completely.  There is nothing to be aware of and no one to do it.  Awareness pervades everything, awareness itself is people and books, and the smell of burning tar, the songs of birds, and all the rest.”

– Brad Warner, from ‘Hardcore Zen’

Or as Chinese poet Li Po puts it:

“The birds have vanished in the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.”

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