Aspects of Sitting Meditation

Correcting Posture

You can say there is a "right posture" for sitting. Many times during sesshin you hit that "right posture", then swing away from it, and then go back to it. You understand what right posture is for you. You can see it, perceive it. It relates with your mind state at that time. Right posture in sitting creates the contents of sitting from all that you have been experiencing up to now. It requires detachment from your desire to do it; you let it happen by itself. So right posture is not that you are doing sitting; right posture itself is the sitting, and the system of your whole body is going into that posture.

The period of sitting is not your own sitting. Physically you feel it is your sitting you do. The inner view of one's sitting, which is utterly an external view, too, includes your personal existence. It includes everything, from which your mind is continuously working. The arising of memories, whatever you have experienced, is always there. No matter whether you deny them or accept them, they are there.

Not only that, but as time passes, the contents change. So posture is how to keep going, how to keep the posture you have taken. As you notice, this physical condition of existence is a very dynamic thing which you cannot stop. It goes by itself. Maybe, all things go by themselves; you are that, and you are able to experience and feel it.

Sitting is always pointless, you know. When we touch sitting with this body, it feels like putting a thumb on paper: "This is it", touching time / space, or creating matter in time / space. That's how I feel when I sit. The more sitting goes still, almost stopping, the more it feels like time stops. At that time there is no more distinction between this body and actual things. Things feel as if they are extensions of the body. It's not a frozen kind of realization, but the very powerful presence of the sensation that you are really there as what you are, what things are, without naming each thing that's there. Even not what you are is also there. I mean, the thing which holds the phenomenal, experiencial phenomena as your own body is also yourself. You may say time / space, or space / time, or simply void, or something like that. Phenomenon / noumenon together are there.

A slight move of mind causes lots of insights out of past experience, and out of images you have been making toward the future. It causes imagination about the relationship of all people and situations in the present time with no distinction between past, present and future, just the enormous dynamic of where you live, what's there, all existing as yourself.

This body is a very fine thing at such a time, continuously pressing this sitting spot. If you sit slanted yet your mudra is perfect, it is strange. It is the same sitting while you imagine that you are dancing somewhere. No one can see it; only you yourself can feel it. But dance is dance and sitting is sitting is sitting, so when you sit you must sit instead of thinking of some fantastic things. But it is not necessary to develop consciousness of the self along. You have to release that conscious self about yourself. Otherwise you will be caught by "sitting very well". Those kinds of wave of mind are not necessary.

The time of sitting is timeless, actually. When you take the right position you have nothing to think about anymore, nothing to bring up from any place, past or future. That which can be call the present moment, where you are and what you are, actually is there. So that the physical posture we take in sitting is a part of whole posture, where it is, actually. Many, many things meditate because, essentially, everything.

Back to Talks on Aspects of Sitting Meditation, by Kobun Chino Otagawa Roshi.
Back to Jikoji's Homepage.