on the cushion

  • Tricycle Community 4 comments

    A Minty Fresh Mind Paid Member

    So now you’re convinced. You’ve read the Wikipedia page about Buddhism, watched a few videos of famous masters on YouTube, gone to the local New Age bookshop and bought a couple of Buddhist magazines, and now you’re ready to try some meditation for yourself. You visited the local sangha and sat with the group and listened intently as the teacher there told you the secret to practice was to meditate every single day. So you took the plunge and went to the gift shop and bought yourself a genuine meditation cushion. You set it up in the corner of your bedroom, where it waits for you every morning, lonely, sad, and neglected. The problem is, you just can’t seem to find the motivation. Your will is strong. Your belief is there. But darn it all, you just never seem to be able to get it together to meditate. Whenever you find a moment to meditate, you seem to do something else instead. More »
  • Tricycle Community 8 comments

    Reflect, Without Thinking Paid Member

    Photographs by Corey Kohn Practice implores us to do the simplest yet most difficult thing: to sit still and simply be present. In meditation, we let whatever comes up, come up. We invite it in. We welcome all of it, including the resistance, the boredom, the judgments, and the endless spinning. We let it all come up and just watch it. When things come up that we don’t like, we try to remember that these thoughts and feelings are our teacher—we can learn from them. They’re not the enemy that we have to get away from. In other words, we don’t try to change our experience; we just try to be aware. Observing ourselves in this way does not require thinking, judging, or analyzing. It only requires watching. This is what it means to watch with curiosity as our experience unfolds, without trying to make ourselves different. More »
  • Tricycle Community 7 comments

    Leaving the Lotus Position Paid Member

    I sit in a chair. Yes, of course, but I mean I sit zazen in a chair. This is a recent development, arising no doubt from a karmic web of causes and conditions, but the primary one is osteoarthritis in my knees.Everybody knows that a Zen student truly dedicated to the Way sits cross-legged on the floor. Buddha was sitting cross-legged when he was enlightened under the pipal tree 2,600 years ago, and there are millions of Buddha statues to prove it— sitting cross-legged on altars and bookshelves all over the world. Several of them are in my house. More »
  • Tricycle Community 80 comments

    The Myth of the Experienced Meditator Paid Member

    I tell Kyodo Roshi I want to take my practice to a deeper level. "Deeper level?" He laughs again. "What do you mean, 'deeper'? Zen practice only one level. No deep, understand?" —Lawrence Shainberg, Ambivalent Zen   More »
  • Tricycle Community 0 comments

    Have a Seat Paid Member

    Q: I have chronic back trouble and haven’t yet found a position for meditation that I can bear for more than ten minutes. I’ve tried just about everything, from seizas to zafus to zabutons to gomdens, in various shapes and degrees of firmness - nothing seems to work for me. I know some teachers write that pain is part of the process, but I just can’t seem to get past the physical agony. More »