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Thread: Mudra

  1. #1

    Mudra

    Hey Jundo.
    I wanted to ask, what is the meaning of the mudra we sit with?

  2. #2

    Re: Mudra

    Quote Originally Posted by Zen
    Hey Jundo.
    I wanted to ask, what is the meaning of the mudra we sit with?
    Hi,

    I gave a talk last year on this, now lost to the internet ... but I wrote this, which might answer your question:


    Here is more information on the 'Cosmic Mudra' of Zazen then you probably wanted.

    There are the traditional interpretations ...
    In Japanese, known as the 'Hokaijyo-in ('Dharmachakra' or 'Dharma Realm' Mudra when found in Esoteric Buddhism, and there usually associated with images of the Buddha 'Dainichi Nyorai') or the 'Zenjou-in' ('Dhyana Meditation' or 'Contemplation' Mudra in the Zen schools ... [although I [Jundo] usually hear it called the 'Hokkaijyo-in in the Soto school ... another example of creeping Tantric influence]), it symbolizes the Buddha in a state of meditation. Some call it the 'Cosmic Mudra' [cause, I guess, it is really 'Cosmic']. In Japanese iconography, the mudra is usually associated with statues of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha, and is not to be confused with images of "Amida Buddha" (which employ the somewhat similar 'Mida-no Jouin' Mudra, in which the knuckles are pressed together ... see famous statue of Great Buddha of Kamakura for example of that). (Adapted from: http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/mudra-japan.shtml)

    But then there's Dogen Zenji's likely interpretation ...

    "Hey, folks, ya gotta do something with your hands!"
    Anyway, it is nice and round, and the open space kinda represents a clear and open mind for me. You know, I can usually tell how somebody is sitting if they have droopy fingers, or let the fingers slip apart. Droopy fingers, droopy mind.

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: Mudra

    how are the hands supposed to be positioned?
    which hand is supposed to be over the other?
    right on left ? or left on right?

    and are the fingers supposed to be flat( almost forced )? or a bit with a little curve( relaxed and almost flat)? are the supposed to touch each other or not?

  4. #4

    Re: Mudra

    Quote Originally Posted by Zen
    how are the hands supposed to be positioned?
    which hand is supposed to be over the other?
    right on left ? or left on right?

    and are the fingers supposed to be flat( almost forced )? or a bit with a little curve( relaxed and almost flat)? are the supposed to touch each other or not?
    Hi,

    I always put the right hand on the bottom, left hand resting above. But I think this may be habit, plus that I am right handed. Since we can switch the legs in sitting, I think that you can switch the hands. However, I think that "right hand on the bottom" is typical of most folks.

    The thumbs should be lightly pressed together, not too loose or slack ... like the mind, not too loose or slack. Here are a couple of pictures of some nice mudra ...



  5. #5

    Re: Mudra

    Also, if the fingers push too hard against each other, it is another reflection of your present state.

    G,W

  6. #6

    Re: Mudra

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Also, if the fingers push too hard against each other, it is another reflection of your present state.

    G,W
    I've heard that the thumbs should be lightly touching . . . so lightly that a piece of paper could be slid between them.

    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: Mudra

    I've heard that the thumbs should be lightly touching . . . so lightly that a piece of paper could be slid between them.
    Yes. I've heard this as well. It just seems natural. Like the posture. I find this mudra quite amazing actually in reflecting how you are. Although the thumbs should be touching lightly, it doesn't always end up that way. It's not until we get more intimate and aware of body and mind, that I think we really start to become aquanted with this, but not in the sense that the fingers should or should not be this or that way.

    Gassho

  8. #8

    Re: Mudra

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Also, if the fingers push too hard against each other, it is another reflection of your present state.

    G,W
    Absolutely.

    I like the "sheet of paper" description, Bill.

    In general, I would not get too obsessed about it. If your fingers are nicely together such that you can forget about them, yet they stay together comfortably in a healthy oval ... that's right. If you are sitting there worrying "are my fingers right?" ... they are not right.

    The same for the whole sitting posture!

    Gassho, J

  9. #9

    Re: Mudra

    thank you everyone.

    i always thought that it is something that should come natural like the posture itself... just let it be so to speak.
    i guess it is pretty much the same with everything

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