Hello people, This is my first post here after watching several of the intro videos....and I will probably have more questions after viewing all of them.

I dont have any experience or education aside from inheriting dozens of books on Buddhism and other traditions from my grandfather. This happened in a bizarre way I wont get into right now, but there is a book with a very bland cover called 'Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation' (University of California Press 1988) which has become the one I read most often.

My other interest aside from zazen is bodybuilding. This might seem like an odd combination but I think it helps. When you do core exercises the torso becomes like a tree trunk...very solid and much less prone to slumping.

Usually this works out as 30 minutes of sitting with a kitchen timer, followed by 15 minutes of deadlifts, squats, curls....then another 30 minutes of sitting. I feels good to have all that blood rushing through the legs when crossed.

I've been thinking about how to make the sitting sessions longer and food analogies came up with a vengeance.

1. Personally I think avocados are quite horrid. I know they are good for me, but its a struggle to eat one...and this is often what its like trying to sit still. I'm not a still person even waiting for a bus...always pacing back and forth like a caged tiger.

2. Wonderbread tastes like nothing to me. Its not disagreeable, nor is it delicious...and zazen is like that too, sometimes.

3. A good cupcake is a scintillating wonder and pleasurable to partake...you often read stories about rare events in meditation when outbursts of laughter or tears of extreme joy rise up and overpower the solemn propriety of the temple.

4. Finally there is the business of consuming oxygen itself...not very
interesting, but absolutely critical to life. And I wonder if zazen is like this too in some cases...cases where the monk feels like he cant live without it???

Does this happen in sequence...the more time spent in zazen the less difficult it becomes, the more pleasant it becomes, and finally the more essential it becomes?

This could also be imagined as a snowball rolling down a hill. At first its so small that pushing is required to get it started, gradually it has enough momentum to keep rolling on its own, faster and faster, larger and larger until no one can stop it. People start running for cover, friends and family are deserted, until it smashes into the ski chalet at the bottom of the hill...killing everyone inside!

Just kidding... -Eric.