A discussion of McDonalds on the Treeleaf Forum ... coupled with the fact that it is a 'Father & Son' weekend (mom is at an Ai-ki-do meet) ... has led Leon and I to the playground at the local Golden Arches in Tsukuba.
It is not the first time I have sat Zazen at McD's (one reason being that the stores in Japan have internet). However, there is another reason too ...
I believe that our sitting should, most times, be done in a quiet room, facing a blank wall. The calm and outer stillness is important to our learning to settle the mind. But our Zen Practice is also all about being out in the world, amid the chaos ... learning to touch, while in the rat race, the very same stillness of mind that we find on the Zafu. So, I encourage all Zazen sitters to do some of their 'sittings' in obnoxious places ... noisy, foul smelling, unpleasant or emotionally difficult places. That is why I do a portion of our sittiings on this blog next to the side of highways, in train stations, in downtown Tokyo and the like. Everyone should do 'mini-sittings' during their day too: in the postal line, when cut off by a crazy driver in traffic, when work and family become overwhelming ...
Furthermore, our usual Zazen is non-focused on open 'awareness' ... just sitting embracing of all, not focused on anything in particular or any one object, not imposing value judgments (good/bad, pleasant/unpleasant, etc.), dropping categorizations of the objects around us (chair, table, father, son, etc.), balanced in body and mind. It is "awareness" because we are not asleep, not in a stupor. We are present and awake and aware, with balanced mind. But meditating with a child at McDonalds adds simultaneously a bit of 'mindfulness' in the mix, as I must maintain care and attention to the situation, and my son's doings ... to prevent disaster.
You will witness two near disasters narrowly averted within the first minutes of today's talk!
So, this is not some fast-food 'McZen' shooting for 'McEnlightenment' ... this is the Real Thing!
Press on arrow for 'play'