Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Anapansati Sutra



Sitting in the central branch of the public library right now, listening to a pair of women discuss the obituary of another woman they are trying to locate in a newspaper from 1974. I am about to head off to my class at the zen center on the Anapansati Sutra, which is essentially a condensed training manual for awakening through breath study. Outside, red, yellow, orange and brown leaves are blowing across the sky and across the busy downtown streets. It's the end of another workday for many, although for me, it has been another day in the bardo I currently am in.

The life of the breath is something I have paid some attention to for many years now, but if I'm honest, not terribly closely. Just as the appearance of a tiny field mouse in the park yesterday surprised me, so too does the ebb and flow of breathing. How does it keep changing it's appearance in my life as it does? No two breaths are alike, which points to the fact that there is no "self" that is stable either. It's always moving, always changing, even if only in the slightest way.

The field mouse I saw had a short, happy gallop across the grass behind me. That is, until a blue jay broke ranks, doing it's best raptor, swooped down and gobbled it up, before disappearing into a tree above the nearby waterfalls.

6 comments:

Algernon said...

Happy breathing, once at a time.

Ben Howard said...

In my experience, anapanasati practice, as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, is not only a enjoyable practice in itself but also a valuable complement to conventional Zen training. I'm glad to have found your blog and to learn that this training is being used in your Zen center.

Gassho,

Shiju Ben Howard

practiceofzen.wordpress.com

Ben Howard said...

In my experience, anapanasati practice, as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, is not only an enjoyable practice in itself but also a vital complement to conventional Zen training. I'm glad to have found your blog and to learn that this training is being used in your Zen center.

Gassho,

Shiju Ben Howard

practiceofzen.wordpress.com

Nathan said...

Welcome Ben.

bookbird said...

i like your writing xo :)

it makes me thoughtful.

Nathan said...

thanks bookbird :)