Back in Tsukuba. The architect said that the work to reinforce the roof beams of the Zendo against earthquake will start this week or next, and the job may take a month. Something about taking out all the walls. So, we are in a little rental room down the road. It's really nice though, surrounded on four sides by rice and vegetable fields, and a bamboo stand. No rush or anything. Quiet, so I can work on a book I'm writing (not particularly a Zen book ... although everything is really a Zen book). I slow down a bit when I get back here, where the farmers get up at 5am and its the rainy season.
Jet-lag has all three of us. I'm not quite sure what time it is (my head too tired to appreciate any Koan in that. Simply not falling asleep is one reason we keep the eyes open in Zazen). Also, our Zafus are in storage, and I don't have a Buddha statue or bell. And, of course, no Zendo either.
Maybe I had best cancel Zazen tonight! ;-)
But who needs stuff? Being back in Japan makes me want to talk less and sit more, so I'll up the sitting time each day by a few minutes, maybe forever. We'll play it all by ear.
Usually on the place where we sit we spread a thick mat, on top of which we use a round cushion. Either sit in the full lotus posture or sit in the half lotus posture. To sit in the full lotus posture, first put the right foot on the left thigh, then put the left foot on the right thigh. To sit in the half lotus posture, just press the left foot onto the right thigh. Let clothing hang loosely and make it neat. Then place the right hand over the left foot, and place the left hand on the right palm. The thumbs meet and support each other. Just sit upright, not leaning to the left, inclining to the right, slouching forward, or arching backward. It is vital that the ears vis-a-vis the shoulders, and the nose vis-a-vis the navel, are directed away from each other. Let the tongue spread against the roof of the mouth. Let the lips and teeth come together. The eyes should be kept open. Let the breath pass imperceptibly through the nose. [NISHIJIMA]
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