The experience of meditation is not "in the head". It is an embodied experience. Our beginning in meditation means first opening up to the conversation with the body. Sunim uses his own experience of pain in meditation to show how this could be the possibility of your first awakening..
On Thoughts and Thinking
The root of enduring human suffering is humanity`s attachment to thinking. "The mind is an excellent servant, but a terrible master," said the eminent sage. Sunim introduces us to the "nudges" he`s come to use, to signal return from random thinking..
Emotions are thoughts which are experienced as rooted in the body. They are not pure, not impure. How do we manage the appearance of emotions in meditation, in life? Sunim shares a powerful little-known story of his teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, at the Berlin Wall which points to handling emergence of emotions in life.
On Hindrances and Obstacles
Sunim talks about obstacles and hindrances in meditation and how to work with them. Meditation is not a practice for bulldozing through the things that are difficult in life. We're not trying to get to clarity. Clarity is there. Clarity is already present. It's our birthright, but we just get involved in many patterns of thinking and we might lose contact with this clarity, but it's always there. This spaciousness is ours.
On Meditating for Others
One day someone came to the great Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi and asked, “How should we treat others?” And the great teacher answered, “There are no others.” This is a profound teaching and not something we need to strive to arrive at. The habits of the mind, attachment to conceptual thought as it arises automatically entering thoughts. We make self and other. We make me and you. This is the fundamental error from which all suffering emerges. Just be it. Let your meditation like a fragrance inhabit the space of your relationships. It will. You don't have to make it. It's waiting to enter the space of your life if you just get out of the way.
Sunim is considering the experience of gratitude. We use the words so easily in our quotidian life. “Well thank you very much, oh, thank you, thank you.” So it can have an automaticity and can be reduced in our understanding to a kind of social etiquette, an exchange of something given and received, part of the transaction. But gratitude is something far, far profounder. It's hardwired into us. Gratitude is not something learned. It cannot be taught. It need not be taught. It need only be discovered, it's there.
A comprehensive 6-week course to build an Authentic Temple Zen home practice, as lived by Zen Master Hyon Gak Sunim in his 30+ years practicing and teaching Zen throughout the world.