Zen & Buddhism Q&As

Why should I practice Zazen?

Zazen is returning to the balanced state. Often, we take “balanced” in quite an abstract way, but it can be taken in a whole variety of ways.

For example, the neurologist James Austin says that there are two distinct areas of the brain concerned with mapping. The first is in an older area of the brain, and seems to be simple recognition:white wall, square room, bird singing.

The second, located within the cerebral cortex always positions relative to the I: I am sitting in a square room, I am facing a white wall, I hear a bird singing outside.

And we can sometimes see how this can act as a tripwire to our joy, to the free expression of the life that lives through us. And also, how when we return to the balanced state, whilst the I is not obliterated, whilst self consciousness is not extinguished, something happens. Self consciousness remains, but the too tight skin has become loose clothing.

And then sometimes: white wall, square room, bird singing.

And then, the bird can sing right into your heart.

More detailed teachings on Sitting Instructions