SARINA’S 24 WEEK JOURNEY!!

โ€œThe journey of a thousand miles

begins with a single step.”

– Lao Tzu

INTRODUCING : Diary of a Zoomi-deshi’s 24 WEEK

AIKIDO ONLINE Daily TraIning Experience

by Sarina.

New Year, old lockdown… back to home schooling. Great news for me as I share childcare – and this time round we’re doing alternate weeks. But home schooling? Never will be my choice of career! I’d do it joyfully for a few hours/day, then my interest wanes after the second hour and hunting for odd socks suddenly become a fascinating activity to engage in. But like all parents with school age kids, there’s very little chance of worming my way out of it until – ta da – I thought of some New Year’s resolution!

I had this great idea (this does happen sometimes)…

I will knock THREE birds out with one stone for 2021!


First – I will not make any resolution about NOT procrastinating anymore. On the contrary, I WILL procrastinate.

Second – I will procrastinate the home schooling until after the morning classes end at 8am GMT. And as an added incentive to procrastinate, I might as well commit to this fancy 24 week challenge that Michael’s come up with.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR 24 WEEK DAILY TRAINING EXPERIENCE HERE:

https://aikidoonline.org/aikido-online-daily-training-experience-2021/

Third – I really want others to benefit from my commitment to attending every class and workshop during the 24 week challenge (and if I miss them, I’ll do the replay, I promise!) – so I will also fundraise for Epilepsy Action UK, a UK based charity that supports those affected with epilepsy.

Personal story here – my 8 year old son Daniel was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy when he was 2, and Epilepsy Action UK indirectly helped us with loads of information and support for the 4+ years that he was under the care of the most amazing paediatrician and epilepsy nurse at our local hospital. He’s been discharged from their care, and takes absolute joy in being the most annoying creature to his older sisters.

So – there we go! That’s my New Year’s resolution. Doesn’t sound too bad does it? Oh and plus, Michael’s kindly given me some space on the website to blog about my 24 week journey, and continue to canvas support to raise funds for Epilepsy Action UK.

Watch this space!

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/about

Epilepsy Action is a charity that improves the lives of everyone affected by epilepsy. We give advice, improve healthcare, fund research and campaign for change.

YOU STAND ALONE…

… But you are NOT alone.

‘๐‘†๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ข๐‘‘๐‘’ ๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘’ ๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ. ๐‘†๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ข๐‘‘๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›, ๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘’, ๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”; ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘ก ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ก ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘› ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘“๐‘’, ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘ข๐‘ก๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘“๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘’๐‘‘๐‘œ๐‘š ๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘โ„Ž ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘š๐‘’/๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘”โ„Ž๐‘ก โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘  ๐‘›๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘’๐‘›, ๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ ๐‘’.’ – Krishnamurti

๐—™๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜…๐˜ ๐˜๐˜„๐—ผ ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ป to all new students.

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ง๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜‚ ๐—”๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ผ ๐—ข๐—ป๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ผ๐—ท๐—ผ began as a response to the Covid Pandemic โ€“ giving people the opportunity to continue their daily practice and the comfort of knowing that Aikido is just a click away under any circumstances. Over the past 9 months we have gathered together, almost daily and sometimes multiple times a day – always in the spirit of sharing our passion for this incredible art that we have found ourselves practicing.

If you find yourself in self-isolation, or just missing daily practice, we’d like to invite you to join us in our training.

TAKEMUSU AIKIDO ONLINE DOJO is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5385646359

Meeting ID: ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿด ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿฐ ๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿต

And if you are looking for some focus in this challenging time check out our upcoming 24 Week Daily Aikido Online Experience starting 11th January, it might be just what you are looking for:

https://aikidoonline.org/aikido-online-daily-training…/

www.aikidoonline.org

#Takemusu #Aikido #Online #Dojo

#Daily #Training #Experience

You Are NOT Alone – AIKIDO ONLINE

Lockdowns and Isolation are tough – really bloody tough!

Albert Einstein said, โ€œ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ด, ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บ.โ€

It’s become a bit overused and maybe we are tired of hearing it, but it’s true all the same. As we head into 2021 and further into the ongoing pandemic, it’s more important than ever to stay strong and supple, we truly are better together. Our actions can have an incrementally positive impact the more we focus on caring for oand looking out for others rather than ourselves, it can be seen in the small actions we take, day by day, moment to moment.

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ง๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜‚ ๐—”๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ผ ๐—ข๐—ป๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ผ๐—ท๐—ผ began as a response to the Covid Pandemic โ€“ giving people the opportunity to continue their daily practice and the comfort of knowing that Aikido is just a click away under any circumstances. Over the past 9 months we have gathered together, almost daily and sometimes multiple times a day – always in the spirit of sharing our passion for this incredible art that we have found ourselves practicing.

So… if you need a space to get out of your thinking head, somewhere to train your body, interact with a community of supportive and passionate people. You aren’t alone. You can find us on Zoom…

๐—™๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜…๐˜ ๐˜๐˜„๐—ผ ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ป to all new students. If you find yourself in self-isolation, or just missing daily practice, we’d like to invite you to join us in our training.

TAKEMUSU AIKIDO ONLINE DOJO is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5385646359

Meeting ID: ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿด ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿฐ ๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿต

If you are looking for some focus in this challenging time check out our upcoming 24 Week Daily Aikido Online Experience starting the 11th January, it might be just what you are looking for:

https://aikidoonline.org/aikido-online-daily-training-experience-2021/

Footage from a class with Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros, making a surprise appearance at the Dojo in June of 2020:

FOUR LEVELS / FOUR CORNERS…

by Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros

Techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.

– Morihei Ueshiba

We can understand the above poem as descriptive of four levels of practice as follows:

  1. katai keiko (hard solid training) – diamond
  2. yawarakai keiko (soft training) – willow
  3. nagare no keiko (flowing training) – water
  4. ki no nagare no keiko (flow of energy training) – space

O Sensei’s poem presents a spiral or progression of levels of learning and ability in Aikido and yet notice that in the poem there is no hierarchy of value as such. The four qualities are presented as four qualities that reflect the nature of our world (four corners) and are thus not seen as being contrived but as given in nature. Thus while qualitatively different, none is inher-ently superior or inferior to any other. Likewise in having them play freely in our Aikido, which one comes to the fore in any encounter will be dictated by circumstances and our appropriate engagement with them (as the poem itself emphasises).

To briefly return to the one of the issues and questions that gave rise to this essay, individuals by temperament and body type find themselves more drawn to one level than another and will generally develop that quality more fully as it feels more natural for them. However, ‘if the only tool you have is a hammer, then you will treat everything as a nail’.

In Aikido sometimes we stand our ground immovably like a rock and at other times become as fluid as water. Sometimes we receive and bend and at other times we step aside and let things pass. The point is not to take a position, but to respond appropriately and change accordingly.

So depending on our perspective, these four qualities can either be seen as ‘levels or corners’. In our training there is an apparent progression from coarse to subtle, from what is easily seen to what is not, but the point eventually is to be free in all situations without choosing this or that. The ultimate strategy in Aikido is ‘no-strategy’.

Ultimately you must forget about technique.

The further you progress, the fewer teachings there are.

The Great Path is really No Path.

– Morihei Ueshiba

This writing was extracted from a larger essay written by Lewis Bernalod de Quiros: an exploration of the various levels of waza and ukemi from a qualitative perspective, Feb 2007. For the full essay click here:

http://www.traditionalaikido.eu

Zen Stories #3 – MAY BE…

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years.

One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“May be,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

“How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“May be,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“May be,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“May be,” said the farmer.

http://www.aikidoonline.org

KEEP CENTRED, CONNECTED, CALM AND CARRY ON…

Takemusu Aikido Online Workshop

โญ• SUNDAY / 03 JANUARY 2021

The first Online Workshop of the New Year, will focus on exploring the three C’s – being Centred, Connected and Calm.

The first session will look at the principle of Centering: beginning with a full body loosening routine, and working on locating the true centre of the body, and the idea of generating and motivating movement from the centre to the periphery.

The second C of being Connected is fundamental to Aikido and every movement based art. We will explore the idea of isolating the parts of the body, connecting them as a whole, and then explore extending feeling into and through an object. Working with Jo turning/ spinning skills as a ‘moving meditation’ practice, to bring the body into deeper and deeper connection working from the centre out.

The third session will expand on the previous two C’s and explore the most fundamental feeling-state that Martial Arts helps develop โ€“ the state of being CALM. This is the ability to act and move with less resistance and with a real felt sense of grace under pressure. This is the feeling we experience seeing top level performers and athletes, with stillness in motion and a with the ease of everything in the right place at the right time, ‘letting things be just as they are’. This class will explore the relationship between the sword and the empty-hand. We will build up from simple movements (suburi) and move towards complex chains (kata), relating to one of the crucial aspects of our training: to unify our body-being to our intention.

โ€œClarity and freedom arise from being calm, not from being reactive.โ€

Peter Ralston, Zen Body-Being

The training will weave in and out of the Takemusu Aikido Bukiwaza and Taijutsu system, bring a bokken, jo and tanto!

โญ• SCHEDULE:

09:00 – 09:45 1st Class
10:00 – 10:45 2nd Class
11:00 – 11:45 3rd Class
11:45 – 12:00 Q&A + Discussion Period

All times are Central European Time CET (UTC +1)

โญ• REQUIREMENTS:

All the training will be designed especially for solo home training.

Please keep your weapons (Bokken + Jo, Tanto) close by and ideally you would need a minimum of ca. 4m2 for the exercises.

โญ• ONLINE CONTENT:

The training will be recorded LIVE and available for students to review in their own time after the Workshop. This can be accessed through the YouTube Channel at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE9i09fGZj0WEeToYUqG2UA

โญ• INSTRUCTOR:

All classes will be led by Michael Ormerod, 3rd Dan Aikikai.

Michael began his training in Aikido at the age of 15 in the UK. He has trained extensively throughout Europe and undertaken an intensive training period in Japan under the guidance of Hiroki Nemoto Sensei (7th Dan Aikikai) and training in the Founderโ€™s Dojo and Hombu Dojo. In 2016 he began a full time apprenticeship under his teacher Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros (6th Dan Aikikai), training in the Takemusu Aikido Motril Dojo and attending seminars as assistant. In 2018 Michael established the Takemusu Aikido Orgiva dojo, and is the current Dojo-Cho of Takemusu Aikido Motril and the recently established Takemusu Aikido Online Dojo.

โญ• PAYMENT:

Workshop Fee: 20 Euros

Payment can be made through PayPal using the following link:

paypal.me/TakemusuAikidoOnline

Alternatively, for direct bank transfer, please contact for IBAN and Bank details.

โญ• MORE INFO:

Email: takemusuaikidoonline@gmail.com

WhatsApp: +34 621 23 18 82

Web: http://www.aikidoonline.org

In Aiki ๐Ÿ™

Michael
TAKEMUSU AIKIDO
ONLINE DOJO

REGISTER BELOW:

โ€œThe Dexterous Butcherโ€ – Zen Stories #2

Cook Ting was cutting up an ox for Lord Wen-hui. As every touch of his hand, every heave of his shoulder, every move of his feet, every thrust of his knee โ€” zip! zoop! He slithered the knife along with a zing, and all was in perfect rhythm, as though he were performing the dance of the Mulberry Grove or keeping time to the Ching-shou music.

โ€œAh, this is marvelous!โ€ said Lord Wen-hui. โ€œImagine skill reaching such heights!โ€

Cook Ting laid down his knife and replied, โ€œWhat I care about is the Way, which goes beyond skill. When I first began cutting up oxen, all I could see was the ox itself. After three years I no longer saw the whole ox. And now โ€” now I go at it by spirit and donโ€™t look with my eyes. Perception and understanding have come to a stop and spirit moves where it wants. I go along with the natural makeup, strike in the big hollows, guide the knife through the big openings, and following things as they are. So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less a main joint.

โ€œA good cook changes his knife once a year โ€” because he cuts. A mediocre cook changes his knife once a month โ€” because he hacks. Iโ€™ve had this knife of mine for nineteen years and Iโ€™ve cut up thousands of oxen with it, and yet the blade is as good as though it had just come from the grindstone. There are spaces between the joints, and the blade of the knife has really no thickness. If you insert what has no thickness into such spaces, then thereโ€™s plenty of room โ€” more than enough for the blade to play about it. Thatโ€™s why after nineteen years the blade of my knife is still as good as when it first came from the grindstone.

โ€œHowever, whenever I come to a complicated place, I size up the difficulties, tell myself to watch out and be careful, keep my eyes on what Iโ€™m doing, work very slowly, and move the knife with the greatest subtlety, until โ€” flop! the whole thing comes apart like a clod of earth crumbling to the ground. I stand there holding the knife and look all around me, completely satisfied and reluctant to move on, and then I wipe off the knife and put it away.โ€

โ€œExcellent!โ€ said Lord Wen-hui. โ€œI have heard the words of Cook Ting and learned how to care for life!โ€

Translated by Burton Watson
 (Chuang Tzu: The Basic Writings, 1964)

TAE Journal Number 4

The TAE Editors have been working extra hard over the past weeks to bring you the newly updated Journal – a brand new look with full colour, flippable pages!
What to expect: What hasn’t changed is our commitment to sharing with you the highest quality content from the TAE community! So here is a quick overview of the contents:

๐Ÿ”ธ Aikido Through the Winter

๐Ÿ”ธ Welcome to the Zoomiverse!

๐Ÿ”ธ 24 Hour Around the World Seminar Cartoon

๐Ÿ”ธ TAE Survey: The Results

๐Ÿ”ธ Dojo Portrait: West Cumbria Aikido

๐Ÿ”ธ Updated 2020/21 Seminar Schedule with all new Online Seminars

Click below to read:

Count From ONE to ZEN…

THE BREATH-COUNTING EXERCISE

This text is an excerpt from the book The Secret Book of Zen.

More info here: http://www.zenseite.de/uk/zen-training/die-atemzaehluebung/index.html

The 1st Phase…

The 1st Phase of Zen practice begins with the practice of counting the breath. You have meanwhile learned to sit properly and perfectly in the zazen posture. However, sitting in the zazen posture still does not constitute genuine Zen meditation. Meditating is done in the First Phase using theย breath-counting exercise. This exercise trains your mindfulness and concentration. With this progressive practice, you will become more mindful not only of your breath, but also of your internal and external worlds. By counting the breath, the so-calledย observer roleย is also practiced. When you take on the role of observer, you will learn over time to distance yourself from your monkey mind by observing your mind from a neutral observer perspective. Assuming the observer role is especially important, and should be practiced very thoroughly. If the observer role has not been practiced sufficiently, all other subsequent exercises in Zen will fail to work, because you will lose yourself in your thoughts instead of distancing yourself from them. Counting the breath is an ancient tradition that is used by many religions. If you keep all your attention on your breath, you are immersed in reality because your breath is always and at any time happening in the present. Therefore you are also right in the here and now, if you mindfully follow your breath.

The breath-counting exercise

Assume the zazen posture and set the timer for 25 minutes. In the breath-counting exercise, you simply count your breaths. Your mouth is closed, and your tongue is loosely touching your palate. Do not clench your teeth together; just rest your upper ones gently on your lower ones. Count only the exhalations during the exercise. After that, notice your breath when you inhale into your tanden. When doing so, breathe into the tanden without counting, let the breath tension build there, release the breath and count the exhalation. You will become one with the breath. This means that you are following your breath with your consciousness, and with all your attention, while you inhale and exhale. Nothing is important except for this breath, in this moment, when you are in the process of inhaling and exhaling. Feel how it flows in and then flows out. Breathe into the tanden; in the process, your attention is focused on the tanden. If you are sitting properly, you will feel how the air arrives there. Then release the tension. Just drop it, because the breath flows by itself. When breathing out, relax everything except for the slight tension in the tanden. You should not follow your breath, for example, feeling it rise in your windpipe as the breath leaves your body. You should simply release the breath in the tanden, and then concentrate on counting it.

Count the first exhalation while inwardly saying “wonnnnn (one)”, until the breath has finished by itself. Do not control the duration of the exhalation. The breath breathes itself; you need do nothing. Repeat this process until you have arrived at the number ten. Never count higher than ten. Then you’ve counted the exhalations ten times in a row. After that, start back at one. You will consciously experience every breath again and again as new. Pay attention to the brief interval of non-existence, when the breath, at the point between inhalation and exhalation, is about to alternate of its own accord. Try to perceive these moments consciously.

Initially you will certainly get stuck in one way or another, because you will subconsciously try to prolong your breath artificially or to control it in some other way. However, your breath does not need you; it breathes by itself without any assistance from you. You should not control it, neither in its depth nor its length. Simply breathe. That initially seems not so easy. Each of us wants to exert control over everything. This is how the human ego works. In this way, the secure feeling arises that one is in charge of everything. We feel secure if we have everything under control. But that is precisely the reason that the first difficulties crop up to confront you. Because if you want to control your breath, this practice will not work. Letting go begins here already, in the first phase of the Zen path. Just let your breath breathe on its own; it has been doing so all by itself ever since you arrived in this world.

The monkey mind

You will discover that your ego creates thoughts which can distract you when you are counting the breath. Or it can cause feelings to arise which distract you from counting. Once you perceive in the First Practice phase, that feelings arise in you or that your thoughts cause you to go off on a tangent, try to let go by focusing your awareness away from the thoughts and feelings and back onto your body, and just quickly scan it: how does it feel? Are you still sitting correctly? Check and, if necessary, correct your posture. Check three places: the head posturehand position and the tanden. So check whether your gaze and head position are still correct. Are your eyes still half-open? Are you still holding your thumbs together lightly and level, or have they moved up or down? Are you still properly throwing your strength into the tanden?

After scanning your body, return your attention back to counting the breath. In the process, you must always start again from scratch. You start again counting the exhalations, and begin at one. You’ll soon discover that you can count perhaps only up to two or three and then you must start all over again because you have once again been lost in thought or feelings. Or you suddenly notice that you have arrived already at count 23, or even further. This will change over time with practice, and it will steadily improve.

This exercise should help you develop an awareness of the fact that your thoughts digress again and again, and that you are constantly preoccupied by feelings that arise. At this time it is not important to look at the contents of these thoughts and feelings. For the time being, only note that thoughts and emotions determine your world. The breath-counting exercise is used in this sense to improve vigilance with regard to thoughts and feelings cropping up, to observe what things are romping around in your monkey mind, and then to release them. With intensive practice you’ll see better and better results. With time, the breath-counting exercise will become second-nature to you and you can apply it whenever you want to get a clear mind.

Here is a summary of the breath-counting exercise:

๐Ÿ”ธ Check and correct the zazen posture with regard to the head, hand position and tanden

๐Ÿ”ธ Observe the inhalation into the tanden, then let go

๐Ÿ”ธ Silently count the exhalation

๐Ÿ”ธ Consciously perceive the moment of non-existence between the breaths

๐Ÿ”ธ Briefly perceive any arising thoughts and feelings, then let them go

๐Ÿ”ธ After that, focus your consciousness briefly on the body. How does it feel? Check and correct the zazen posture with regard to the head, hand position and tanden

๐Ÿ”ธ Observe the inhalation into the tanden, then let go

๐Ÿ”ธ Silently count the exhalation


This process is repeated constantly from the beginning. If you practice the breath-counting exercise, set up your meditation timer for 25 minutes. If you have problems initially sitting quietly for 25 minutes, shorten the time to 15 minutes at first. You should increase the length of your session again as soon as you can sit for 15 minutes without any problem. Especially for beginners, the mind requires at least 15 to 20 minutes to even settle down, to be halfway able to let go, and to stay with the breath. You should therefore practice for at least 25 minutes and always stick to this session length. In doing so it should be irrelevant whether, for example, today, “Itโ€™s not going so well,” whether counting the breath is just now causing problems, or other difficulties are cropping up. Always sit for the total practice time, unless you develop health problems.

The breath-counting exercise ends here. After that the real Zen-Training begins, which you can read on in the book The Secret Book of Zen.

If you meet Buddha on the road… ZEN KOANS #1

The Zen Master warns: ‘If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!’ This admonition points up that no meaning that comes from outside of ourselves is real. The Buddhahood of each of us has already been obtained. We need only recognize it. Philosophy, religion, patriotism, all are empty idols. The only meaning in our lives is what we each bring to them. Killing the Buddha on the road means destroying the hope that anything outside of ourselves can be out master. No one is any bigger than anyone else. There are no mothers or fathers for grown-ups, only sisters and brothers.

– Sheldon B. Kopp