Continuing to look at famous teachings about meditation to support confidence in your search for the answer. The Dhammapada is a nice famous collection of 423 short paragraphs from the Buddhist cannon. “Show and tell” based on Zen Mind Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1904-1971). History of Zen in the US, Suzuki Roshi’s lineage, and how to meditate videos from SFZC. I chatted about the couple dozen places/books/and people I’ve known, in particular KannonDo where I started practicing Zen in 1990 with Les Kaye Roshi and Misha Merrill Sensei, a retreat in New Rochelle with Susan Postal Sensei in 2006 and my visit to Suzuki Roshi’s home temple Rinsoin in Yaizu, Japan with his son and heir Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi in 1994.


Continuing to look at famous teachings about meditation to support confidence in your search for the answer. The Buddhist Pali Cannon is the Tripitaka/3 baskets. The 2nd basket has the teachings/suttas and is divided into 5 collections/nikayas. The Anapanasati sutta is in the 2nd “middle-length”/majjihma collection: number 118 out of 152 suttas. So the reference is MN118 (Majjihma Nikaya #118). In these 4-pages, you can see the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (i.e. four frames of reference) discussed as well: body, feelings, mind, mental qualities. The Satipathana sutta (MN10) is similar to the Mahasatipathana sutta (DN22 = “digha nikaya” = long collections #22), and actually goes over anapanasati as well. So the two are very much interwoven, just written in slightly different words. Sensei summarized the Satipathana sutta nicely in his book Wakeful on pp 30-32 where we apply 4 steps to each of the foundations/frames: 1) clear perception (attained through practicing meditation), 2) observation (over a long period of time), 3) tranquilization, 4) liberation. The way I like to put it is from Patanjali’s Yoga sutras. We learn to quell the waves that represent disunity, disharmony or irresolution in each of the koshas/foundations/skandas/or however you care to divide yourself, during meditation AND throughout our life.
Also: a nice NPR story on perceptual time versus time as we look through memories based on work by a neuroscience professor. Same as Sensei’s subjective and objective time. Sensei coined the term “absolute time” as that which is experienced in jhana when we are fully present.


Why did I become a Buddhist? I sought the experts in how to meditate. Although Buddha said in the Kalama sutra that we shouldn’t believe things just because they are written/etc, being familiar with famous teachings can provide some confidence as we search for the answer. So I want to go over some famous ones and invite you to suggest others to examine. Here are 4 famous Buddhist teachings. Shared Sensei’s simple translation of Anapanasatisutta.


“What do you do to relax each day?” Walk in nature, have a beer, watch TV, exercise, another spiritual practice, daydream, a hobby, etc. All good ways to recover after a day’s hard work. Meditation is the most direct path to recover yourself. What about sleep/a nap? That’s a really good way too, but in meditation you can settle yourself even deeper, because you can choose to let go rather than wrestle with things in your dreams. These are all effective because they help you let go of the attachments that you’re stuck on that day. If you were enlightened, you’d have no attachments and so no need to recover yourself after effort. These activities help you let go, often by giving you something else to focus on. Same thing in meditation: you focus on your body’s breathing in order to let go of the attachments you’re currently stuck on, for the time you are meditating. If you were enlightened you wouldn’t need to focus to get jhana. Remember, it’s more valuable to develop the ability to let go and recover yourself than to just recover yourself that one time; that’s why we practice. So settle your body sitting not sleeping, your emotions walking if you can’t sit, and thoughts by continuing to let go of what arises and return to focus. It’s hard until it suddenly becomes easy.


“With whom do you meditate?” It’s a common question you get when visiting a new Zen center (Whom do you sit with?) or yoga studio (Who is your teacher?). On the up side, it’s a common conversation that is a good introduction to a new place – nothing special. On the down side, you can suffer by how you answer in different ways including: being attached to practicing with your teacher which may not last, being prideful and judgemental of your teacher’s superiority, or even being deluded in thinking that a fictional mystic transference is occurring from them to you. I shared my story of visiting the Frederick Lenz “meditation club” at UCLA and his fictional mystic transference of enlightenment. I’m not enlightened and don’t claim any such process. We crave such mystical things, yet the mystical is in the details of every experience and you get it with deep meditation (jhana).