Means to sit in silence , fully absorbed into the present moment. We sit unmoving, concentrated on our physical posture what should be relaxed and energetic at the same time. We observe our breath. We observe thoughts and emotions without reacting on them. We reflect what is happening, inside and outside of us. ZAZEN is rooted in Buddhist tradition .

The teachers I met did not demand that I should imitate them, but instead, showed me how important it is to accept life and allow it to happen, that life can transform us. In order to allow this transformation, it is important to experience a space in which it can take place. This space is found within each of us. Surrounding each feeling, each thought, each certainty, there is this empty space that allows transformation. In Zen, we call this practice ‘to cultivate the empty field’. Whoever wishes to experience this infinite space, within and without, must neither feel sorry for themselves nor take themselves too seriously. In this space, our experience makes us the centre of all being – and, at the same time, we are completely unimportant.

Like the wind that moves a leaf, the one and only leaf on a branch in the autumn. At any moment the material connection may tear. The leaf moves, the wind blows.

I saw the deep abysses of my personality during long retreats. I viewed sides of me, ways of seeing , which would have turned/hardened to stone, had they not been viewed. The viewing itself triggers transformation. Transforming oneself is often connected with pain, and it is never complete. But nothing compares to the joy of being real.

Everything can turn to stone, every living experience can turn into a fact. Especially when practicing ZAZEN this is easy, because so much emphasis is put on immobility and repetition. In immobility, it is important to experience the mobile, and in repetition, it is important to experience the ever new. Great teachers, such as Master Linchi, are rare. He told his pupils: “whatever I say, do not accept it.”

Carl Zimmerling

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