Aspects of Sitting Meditation

Environment

Protecting zazen is like raising your own child: you raise zazen. Especially when you understand that your formal existence as a man or woman actually is a big question. Because you have such immense energy, such desire, you beat yourself up, you mistreat yourself. And if you are seeking some kind of fantastic experience to straighten yourself, again you are mistreating yourself. So the important thing in doing zazen is to protect zazen.

When you sit in the street, for example, you discover that siting in the house is protecting zazen. If you sit naked on the beach, tides continuously come to your body and in ten minutes you'll understand that's not a place to sit. Direct wind where you're sitting is not so good. Clean air is very important to sit in and breathe in. Plants are very important for that. Mountains and woods are very good places to sit. Fasting is not so good for a long sitting of a week or a month; it is a kind of radical thing to do. Also not so good is eating a big meal or taking some kind of chemical right before you sit.

Light is important for sitting. You can sit any time--midnight or daytime. The best is indirect sunlight, not direct. You can swing from one extreme to another to find how far you can go. Just remember the middle way.


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