Jul 21, 2008

Sitting and listening to the wind in the pines

Most of Issoan tea classes are in the evening and students often come right from work or right from fighting traffic to get to the school. We usually begin our class with about 10-15 minutes of zazen. Just sitting with the stillness and breathing deeply helps to put some of the dust of the world behind us, center us and get ready for study.

My students often ask me about what is the correct way to meditate. I don’t know very much about Zen meditation but to get students started, I have them sit seiza (if in kimono) or half lotus (thank you, Jordan) or cross legged. Sitting up straight with ears aligned with shoulders, arms comfortably in your lap, left hand on top of right, palm up and thumbs together. We light the incense, ring the bell and empty our minds. Try counting breaths 1 to 10 and back to 1 again, or just letting thoughts come and go and settle down inside.

Some days I am more successful than others, but when I reach a place of aware alertness, I can hear the sound of the kettle singing without getting carried away listening to it. Sometimes my feet fall asleep and I lose all feeling. Sometimes I just can’t stop thinking about things. Sometimes I really feel my breathing deep in my lungs. And sometimes, not very often, I just sit and hear the wind in the pines and nothing else matters.


  1. Jordan,
    Thank you! I am learning more of Zen through conversations with you and your recommended readings. I hope you can come to Ryokusuido for sweets and tea. You are welcome to come to class at any time to talk more with my students.


  2. Margie,

    One really enjoys this blog so much that one went back and read almost all of the older posts. You and your blog really capture the essence of chado. Thank you for giving us readers a piece of you with every post.

    One once approached a Zen monk who lives at a temple not far from home. One asked, “What is the best way to practice Zen?” He modestly replayed, “The way you practice Zen is the best way to practice Zen.” Ones practice strangely improved after his answer, because all answers are with oneself.

    Thanks again for sharing such a beautiful post.


  3. Matt,

    Thank you for coming to read the blog. I am very happy you have discovered it and found something you enjoy. I love the way of tea, and I hope others can share some of what I feel for Chado.

    Thank you also for linking my blog with yours. I read your posts regularly. Sometime I may get the courage to post a comment.

    "Zen cha ichi mi" Zen and tea, one taste.


  4. Margie,
    Thank you for the invite!
    Circumstances have me a little over extended right now. I would love the opportunity to come out again, and will take it as soon as I can.

    Thank you again!

  5. Jordan,
    Thank you for the comment. You are welcome at any time.