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Zazen Mind

From Chapter 23 ("Listening to the Mind") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

One of our Sangha members came to me and said she was going away for a few months. "What shall I do? How shall I support my practice?" she asked me. "I am going to Europe, and will be living in hotel rooms, and I don't know how I will carry on" I said, "Sit down and take a deep breath, and you will be right here. We are together wherever we are, when we just sit down and take a deep breath."

We are all supporting each other wherever we are in the world, without saying, "Let me do this for you, you poor thing, how will you get along without us"—no, no. Just by being present. And as I've said many times, your zazen is your best teacher. Zazen washes away all conceptual thought, and makes the mind clear and fresh. You all have your own zazen mind, so listen to it. Your zazen mind teaches you about just how far you are going, just how much you trust, just how willing you are to believe in this mind, just how clearly you are coming to understand with your bones, your skin, your marrow, what this is about.

Through your zazen, you are giving up your discriminating attitudes and becoming absolutely clear and still. Sometimes you experience great pain, yet you remain sitting, sitting, sitting, not giving up, awake to everything. Sometimes it's noisy outside: chainsaws, children playing, people laughing and talking. It's all O.K., because you're awake to everything, to every single thing. If somebody makes a noise in the zendo, it's O.K. If somebody cries, it's fine. Cars go by and beep: no problem. Planes fly overhead: fine. Cats meow, dogs bark: good. Nothing is a disturbance when your zazen condition has become firm and clear. All judgmental attitudes about whether or not those noises are disturbing simply fall away.

It's one thing to sit in ideal conditions in the zendo, but we need to be ready to sit anywhere, on the streetcar, on the bus, anywhere! The world goes on, the sounds go on, the raindrops fall, the wind blows, and we are learning all this acceptance of it through our bodies, which sit still no matter what. If you want to memorize things in books about how to practice, fine, but it's not the same, is it. You don't read the menu to taste the food.

^z - 2017-08-09