Sunday Morning

02009-03-01 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

I usually sit in the afternoon or late at night, but today I sat zazen at 08:00. They say one should not sit zazen with closed eyes unless one has at least 15 years of zazen experience. I have practiced zazen for 5 years but have been meditating for 35, and so I allow myself to close my eyes about half of the 40 minutes I sit every day. I only do it when I am wide awake, so I don’t fall asleep. When the conditions are good, meaning that I am relaxed and yet alert, I will close my eyes and sometimes that’s just pure bliss. Mind, calm like a lake without wind and yet ready for any splash in the water. Timeless.

William Gibson
A billion seconds is 32 years.
A trillion seconds is 32,000 years.

I have crossed the 1,500,000,000 second threshhold. It looks like a lot and it feels like nothing.

Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly.
Suddenly I awoke.
Now, I do not know whether I was then
a man dreaming I was a butterfly,
or whether I am now a butterfly
dreaming that I am a man.

– Chuang Tzu (c.360 BC – c. 275 BC)

Here is a different translation:

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke.
Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly,
or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?

I rode my fixie to Downtown Subscription for a green chile croissant and a coffee. Must ask David @ Mellow Velo about getting a slightly larger cog, maybe just +1T.

More time-lapse photography. I am hunting moving shadows around the house. The camera takes one photo every 9 seconds. Odd noise to have around.

Tomato – Tomato:


The first seven chapters of the text, often called the Inner Chapters, are generally attributed to Zhuang Zhou (Chuang Chou), who, according to legend, lived in what is now known as Honan from approximately 370-286 BC. The rest of the text is often understood to contain fragments of material, some of which are sometimes attributed to the same author as the Inner Chapters, some of which are attributed to other authors, including representatives of the Yangzhu (Yang Chu) tradition. For the sake of convenience, this article will refer to the author and/or authors of the text simply as Zhuangzi.

Chuang Tzu AKA Zhuangzi AKA Zhuang Zhou AKA Chuang Chou AKA Yangzhu AKA Yang Chu?

You are the butterfly,
And I the dreaming heart
Of Soshi

– Basho

Soshi is the Japanese name for Chuang Tzu.

Thanks Y.


  1. Heather

    I am curious: what would you say are the fundamental differences between meditation and sitting zazen? (besides eyes closed, of course)

  2. Ottmar

    Heather: Zazen is one particular type of meditation – there are many. Two of the most basic categories of meditation are Open Presence and Focused Attention. We could also call the latter Concentrative Meditation, because one concentrates on a chosen object of attention, either an image or a sound/mantra. Open Presence, which is called shikantaza or just sitting in Zen, deals with awareness as such and not attention. Or, Open Presence is the big blue sky and Focused Attention is the eagle flying overhead.

    Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.
    – Krishnamurti

  3. Heather

    And so each one has it place. One is not better than the other: they just are different flavours of the same wine? Some days the focus is necessary & other days it is unimportant?

    Thank you for your poetic reply.

  4. Ottmar

    No, Heather I would not say that. Open Presence and Focused Attention are different schools of meditation, different methods. I would not switch between them on a whim, because I would miss out on the depth that I can gain from following one method as far as I can. (((It’s the same with everything, isn’t it? One has to sample enough width and then select an area of depth…))) You might say, however, that these different school suit different temperaments. I am drawn to one of the two, but I see both as equally promising.


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