SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi LIII

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Okay, I really was tongue-tied for today's sitting. So, here's what I meant to say ... If I don't explain it, you might wonder just why this guy is sitting in front of a screaming TV, holding a banana;

Some folks might guess that the loud, blaring "television" represents the busy, -thinking- mind ... filled with noise and flashing colors, babbling words, opinions and bits of emotional news, and stuff that we're tempted to buy or want to sleep with. Those folks who so guess would be CORRECT!

And, the "banana" ... well, the banana represents a life form that does not think ... at least as far as I know, never having had a very good conversation with a piece of fruit. (You see, in my tongue-tiedness today, I kept accidentally calling the banana 'non-thinking', when I meant to say it is 'not thinking'. That's the part that could be really confusing to folks, and would spoil the whole point! So, if you hear me call the banana "non-thinking" please think "not thinking", not "non thinking". Okay?)

Now, human beings cannot be as 'not thinking' as a banana because, gosh darn it, we are sentient creatures, conscious and aware, analytical and all the rest. I mean, there may be some mystic in India or Tibet who can quiet the mind to the point of banana-ness (a 'Banana Lamanana?'), but our Zen practice does not find achieving that so useful over the long term (any timelessness of being in banana-prajna aside) ... Of course, being a banana must be very peaceful and all for the banana, but it is hard to do human things if in a fully fruity state. Humans run the store that sells the banana, an act which takes thinking ... but we could not do so if as soft-in-the-head as the bananas we sell. (I mean, yes, some of us are a little "bananas", but that does not mean we are literally "bananas").

On the other hand, our Zen practice is not about having the mind as chaotic and cluttered as that blaring 'boob tube'.

Thus, Master Dogen did not mean that we could actually BE the banana, nor that we should stay as the TV. Instead, he recommended that we should grab the remote control on the mind's TV (granted that they did not have remote controls or tv's in 13th century Japan ... I am not sure if they had bananas either) and turn down the volume, switch off the show. By doing so, we find our banana-ness ... non-thinking ... still, quiet, undemanding, free of opinions and desires, as much as the yellow fruit ... while still awake, conscious, mentally alive and thus able to be the guy who runs the fruit store. So, after all, we ARE the banana and the guy who runs the banana stand! We ARE the banana, but also perfectly sentient and able to be banana sellers!


Sitting in balance in the mountain-still state, "Think the concrete state of not thinking." "How can the state of not thinking be thought?" "It is different from thinking." This is the secret of sitting-Zen. [NISHIJIMA]

… settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking. Not thinking-what kind of thinking is that? Nonthinking. This is the essential art of zazen. [SZTP]


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