02007-01-08 | Buddhism, Meditation, Musings | 9 comments

My Zazen Notebook
…when I was reading the transcription of a Dharma talk by Kodo Sawaki Roshi, I came across the following words – ‘All Sutras are footnotes to Zazen.’

Thank you Y.
Or – maybe all religious text is a footnote to contemplation. Contemplation/meditation/zazen prepare the ground. Or better yet, they are the ground.


  1. Carol

    How beautifully you put my thoughts into words, Ottmar. Anything and everything that shakes a person out of our routine shallowness and helps us to become aware of the reality that we are. Whether it’s a sudden shock to our system or a quiet reading or listening to authors and musicians, etc who have such depth to help you grow into reality.

  2. Carol

    Or am I way off?

  3. ottmar

    Well, Carol, let’s just say you took it into another direction. The point I was trying to make is that contemplation or meditation creates the ground on which we can act. Everything starts from there. It is less about a shock to the system, more about connecting the system. I don’t think a person could meditate and NOT slowly experience their awareness change. That is true for every religion as every religion has a form of contemplation or meditation. Religion is just a view, an attempt to order the experience, and a set of rituals that is supposed to remind the individual of that experience – the problem, as I see it, is that people get stuck on religion instead of contemplating or meditating… maybe that’s like being in love with a photograph instead of being in love with the person the photograph is supposed to represent.

  4. Carol

    yes… thank you… interesting comparison. It helps.

  5. marijose

    I had an interesting conversation with someone recently about the similarities in the Catholic and Buddhist monastic traditions. I think the basis, or ground, of all religions or spiritual traditions is more similar than different. Which makes the fights and bloodshed that have been wasted through the centuries over the “my religion/spirituality is better than yours” argument so disheartening.

    It could be that, for some people, a shock to the system or another moving experience leads them into contemplation/meditation, and it all falls into place from there.

  6. ottmar

    It could be that, for some people, a shock to the system or another moving experience leads them into contemplation/meditation, and it all falls into place from there.

    Yes, unfortunately it often takes some kind of shock to the system – disease, accident, depression, that sort of thing…
    I do think contemplation/meditation should be taught in all schools – free from any connection to religion – as a means to improve the brain.

  7. yumiko

    Running, running after my mind…when all I had to do was to sit down and be still. Said with ease, not always easy to do.

  8. marijose

    A few schools are beginning to teach meditation. Parents can also do this at home. There is a nice article here – – and some free books & poems by children who meditate here - .

  9. Carol

    That’s it isn’t it, Yumiko. Trying too hard to not try is an enigma. My mind laughs at me when I try.
    I wish I’d been able to have meditation in school.


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