“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 except for your time and presence.

Thursday evenings in Nonington

Contact Andy: 01304 842673 or amclellan70@gmail.com

“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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“In the east, at dark, bright Mars appears, and soon the full moon follows the sun’s path, east to west across a blue black sky.  I am always restless in the time of the full moon, a common lunatic, and move about the frozen monastery, moon-watching.  Rising over the White River, the moon illuminates the ghostly prayer flag blowing so softly on the roof of the still hut, and seems to kindle the stacked brushwood; on its altar stone my small clay buddha stirs.  The snow across the river glows, and the rocks and peaks, the serpentine black stream, the snows, ski, stars, the firmament — all ring like the bell of the universal Buddha.  Now!  Here is the secret!  Now!

— Peter Matthiessen ‘Nine-Headed Dragon River’



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“To practice Zen means to realize one’s existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future.  To rest in the present’ is a state of magical simplicity, although attainment of this state is not as simple as it sounds.  At the very least, sitting Zen practice, called zazen, will bring about a strong sense of well-being, as the clutter of ideas and emotions falls away and body and mind return to natural harmony with all creation. Out of this emptiness can come a true insight into the nature of existence, which is no different one’s Buddha nature.  To travel this path, one need not be a ‘Zen Buddhist’, which is only another idea to be discarded, like ‘enlightenment’ and like ‘the Buddha’ and like ‘God’.”

— Peter Matthiessen, ‘Nine-Headed Dragon River’

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Wandering for alms – 
weak, leaning on a staff,
with trembling limbs – 
I fell down right there on the ground.
Seeing the drawbacks of the body,
my mind was then
set free.
Therigatha 1.17
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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. 


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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 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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