Thread: Shikantasa

  1. #1


    This is an article by Soto Zen teacher Jundo Cohen, which is available to read at the Tricycle website.

    "The Backward Wisdom of Shikantasa"

    Any comments?

  2. #2
    Global Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    An account of a worthwhile form of meditation called 'Just Sitting' which, as described in this article, is a Zen practice designed to explore what happens when merely sitting in meditation is an end product in itself. We sit to sit, not to attain anything. The longer we sit, the more nothing happens. Not an easy thing to do as a long-term practice as most people, especially here in the West, want to be aiming at something when they meditate. So why do it? The article goes on to explain that things can happen, such as the rise of equanimity, or a softening of 'the hard borders between self and the rest of the world' or even 'rich experiences of samadhi'. We do change but nothing is guaranteed.

    Personally I don't like the language of the article or its lack of practical details about how to undertake 'just sitting'. I was taught it as part of taking meditation outside into a garden, where you just sit with eyes open and observe the world, perhaps not looking around much and maybe sitting on a comfortable garden chair. As a practice it reflects my favourite Kafka quote, "“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

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