Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our Mundane World

This "Mundane World" is an expression we often hear, an other name for the "World of life and death" or Samsara. A world we should try to avoid because of its shallowness...

It is interesting to note that originally "mundane" means "of the world". So that really, the mundane world is the world of the world, or the worldly world...

Are we really meant to avoid the world of the world ?

Sitting in Zazen to experience nirvana, possibly reach great levels of spiritual accomplishments and why not save the world may seem like a worthy enterprise.

But in the end, we are rooted in this mundane world, there is no other world and this is where we are meant to daily operate.

"To return to the root is to find the meaning" (1). The mundane world, the worldly world, this is where the root is, and if we look for it in a different, non mundane world, we act just like a man trying to find his eyeglasses when they sit on his nose.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Nothing Lacking, Nothing in Excess

The Shin Jin Mei  (Chinese  信心銘  - Xin Xin Ming or Hsin Hsin Ming), Faith in mind, is a poem attributed to the Third Chinese Chan (Zen) Patriarch Kanchi Sozan (Chinese Jianzhi Sengcan  or Chien-chih Seng-ts'an)

One of the earliest Zen document we have, it is a beautiful and syncretic text, in which Indian Mahayana Buddhism is already deeply influenced by Chinese Taoism.

Multiple translations are available, but one of its stanza has been rendered as :

The Way is perfect like Vast Space, with nothing lacking, and nothing in Excess.

Here is a video of Masayaki Shimabukuro Hanshi, which I believe perfectly illustrate Nothing Lacking, Nothing in Excess...

Enjoy, Be inspired, Practice...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Posture, Tension, Breathing

The whole attitude of a human being appears in his posture, in the relationship of tension and relaxation, and in breathing. Posture, tension and relaxation and breath can never be exclusively physical factors. They are integral functions of the person manifesting himself anagolously on the psychological and spiritual levels. 


Karlfried Graf von Durckheim in Hara, the vital centre of man.

The capital letters are mine.

There is basically no need to master complex philosophical or intellectual concepts to progress on a path.

Diligent training (exercitium) in maintaining proper
  • Posture
  • Tension/Relaxation
  • Breathing
is fundamentally important and necessary. 

No amount of physical or intellectual technical expertise will ever compensate for a lack of mastery of these basics. 

Your zazen should be anchored in your lower abdomen, your breathing deep and calm, your spine kept gently but not stiffly erect.

In Sword Arts, you should cut from the same place, your grip should be firm without excessive tension (Right hand push, Left hand pulls), and your breathing should flow with your moves.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Outdoor practice

Now that the polar vortex left us, is a perfect time for outdoor practice. 4 of us met at Kiesel Park in Auburn, AL on Sunday (April 13) morning and trained for 2 hours. 

Here Travis Page and Jim Robertson practice Tsukekomi, the second waza of the Tachi uchi no kurai set of MJER.

Tsukekomi - 01

Tsukekomi - 02

Tsukekomi - 03