Sunday, August 28th
- Martin Goodson

Upcoming Tutorial on Form Practice

Forthcoming events for w/c 29th August 2022

A reminder that we have no live-streamed meditation this week.




Monday 5th September 1900hrs BST we will be having a tutorial on 'Form Practice'.

Master Daiyu used to say that Zen training will not work without a decent form practice to support it. The Sanskrit term for this practice is śīla (pronounced: 'sheela'), which translates into English as 'morality' or 'discipline'.

For our purposes form-practice covers:

  • The Five Lay Precepts

  • Deportment

  • Bowing

  • Sitting meditation (Zazen)

  • Right Speech & Right Action

  • Restraint practices

The rationale for form training is that all activities of body and mind require energy that form habits some wholesome and some not, for the purposes of meditation and daily life practice (mindfulness in daily life).

Zen Master Daie once said that if we want inner strength then we must learn to conserve this energy. But that we are 'leaky'. What he meant by that is our life-energy gets dissipated by frivolous activities of body, speech and mind. The purpose of form practice is to release life-energy from unwholesome or unskilful habit forms and redirect it into those conducive to Buddhist practice, to the goal of the alchemical transformation of the heart-energy from the delusion of a separate self into the realisation of the true nature of reality - that is dependent origination/emptiness of separation.

Simple huh!

Yes, but, alas, not so easy. These habit forms are closely aligned to the sense of 'me', 'I', 'myself' which means that 'I' will use every trick in the book to subvert, dilute & forget practices that not only do not affirm 'me' but actually undermines the strongest habit of 'I' - self-regard.

As the old saying goes: 'Softly, softly, catch the bird-y'. So a good form practice starts from where we are and over time develops into a containing strength that allows the inner alchemy of heart-energy transformation to take place.

To get things started you might like to take a look at this Exercise in Mindfulness which discusses the importance of ethical training when cultivating a meditation practice.

Forthcoming Events for this Week.

A reminder that I will be away this week so we won't be having the usual live-streamed Zazen meditation on Thursday. Normal services will be resumed next week.

For those in the U.K. hope you are having a great holiday weekend, and good wishes to everyone for the week ahead.