30 minute meditation journal

09 November 2017 11:59 PM
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Evening sit. On a sudden urge I moved a painting of the kanji for 'compassion' to my sitting spot. In its new temporary home it sits by a statue of Manjushri, the most common visual personification in the zen tradition of wisdom, holding the 'sword of wisdom' aloft.

There is a red slash like line on the picture and the juxtaposition of the two makes it look like it the two are connected.  When I first got the Manjushri statue (after stumbling on it in a second hand shop) it felt almost stern and no nonsense. It now seems filled with gentleness. The kanji of compassion, partly because of the colours and directness feels very alive and energise - some people have told me it looks fierce.   Sitting it felt like both in the object and in the qualities they represent, that both wisdom and compassion are conjoined and inseparable, both being loving and fierce as needed.





Comments

Do you sit in front of these object rather than a blank wall? I thought the blank wall was the way to go to stop visual distractions?

paulmac63
Paul V
13 days ago
In our hybrid zen tradition we sit facing forwards when in a group rather than facing a wall. It has a gentler, more supportive feel but because the eyes are slightly downwards distractions are usually minimised. I have sat a retreat where most of the sitting was wall facing and it had a more solitary and intense feel. I think both have their advantages personally. I'm not a very visual person (I lost all visual memory/imagination suddenly a few years back) so I'm not generally subject much toe visual distractions but I know that for people who are even a blank wall can become a distraction. The slightest shape or shadow on the wall can generate all sorts of visual images and associations, especially during a long retreat.  You get so intimate with that patch of wall it feels alive and either a loved friend or a hated enemy or both, or a mountain range or someone's face. You see both that no wall is actually entirely blank and that the mind really can create anything from almost nothing!

At home I don't face a wall because I have a far from ideal rented place and there is little actual wall space. I don't usually focus on anything visual or otherwise but sort of take in all sensations equally broadly. This time though my eyes were fixed on the statue and the picture. I think it is something that just needs to happen for now - maybe part of bringing the compassion and wisdom elements of practice and manifestation together somehow. I don't know yet but my sitting often follows strange spontaneous twists and only in retrospect can I see why something was the way it was.


Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
13 days ago
Thanks. I hope you don’t mind me asking questions I read a lot about all this and still get confused. I’m not sure I’m even doing it right. I don’t want to be a pest.   
paulmac63
Paul V
13 days ago
You are not a pest! Ask away whenever you feel like it.

People on this site helped with all my endless questions when I needed. Now my turn to help in return if I can.

I'm not sure anyone ever feels sure that they are doing it right so don't worry about that. I'm not even sure there is a 'wrong'!
Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
13 days ago