Monday, October 26, 2009

The Theme

When you go to a concert, you don’t just sit there, listening to the music. You focus on the themes. When you do zazen, you don’t just sit there, doing Mu. You questioning sprit is your theme. The answer is right there. As my old dad would say, “If it’d been a bear, it would’ve bit you.”


  1. This Bear does bite! But who feels brave enough to jump into its mouth?... Give it every scrap of muscle and hide, every bit of past and future...only then do the eyes of the questioning spirit open wide enough to look around and notice the themes have expanded to the mountain the stars!

  2. Spirit is not something I usually associate with Zen, but I do understand what you're getting at. In racing terminology it is said that to go fast you need to slow down. Anyone who has ever raced knows that pain is part of the process. Don't race if you don't want to get hurt. Being absorbed by nothing is exactly the theme of this story, the pillar on which it sits.

  3. I do have to say that sitting does result in answers..I have found answers to puzzles that seemed totally unsolvable at times. I guess that is the difference between Zen meditation and "entertainment meditation". I have done both and the questioning mind found rest only in Zen tradition.

  4. I wrote a comment and then I think I lost it. Oh well, I will try one more time..:). Roshi's post is right on mark. I say this from experience..:). It is the spirit of questioning that distinguishes Zen meditation from meditation for entertainment. I know the difference because I did both. The meditation where I was making my mind still did not go far other than resulting in physical relaxation, my doubts and questions still remained. It is only when I started to sit on cushion with the questioning mind that I found some answers and had some glimpses of peace and contentment.

  5. Dear Roshi,

    I'm tired of the questions my mind throws up. Does Buddhism offer anything more substantial?

    I suppose there are questions, and there are questions.