Category Archives: ZuoWang Articles

Zuowang and Surpassing Pu

Jack Schaefer, acupuncturistIn 1998 I was practicing Zuowang meditation with a Tuina and qigong teacher of mine when I had a very interesting experience. It was during one of the regular weekly Zuowang classes that an interesting inspiration came to me with regard to a teacher, student and “pu” 樸 – the uncarved wood. During my meditation a vision came info my mind where I saw my teacher transform into the image of a knife and myself as piece of wood. After leaving class that night I contemplated the image of my teacher as a knife and I as a chunk of wood. I began to feel like it was about the teacher doing the work to shape the student into something. How wrong this point of view actually was.

Shifu’s 24-Hour Retreat

Shifu Michael Rinaldini

July 27
10:15 am

Today is the day that I am going to do my 24-hour sitting meditation practice. Review what I said about it in my October 13, 2013 entry. Obviously I haven’t worked on this practice in smaller increments, it would have been reported on in these journal entries. I am finding myself to be too busy to devote to any extended sittings, and so I decided, oh well, just go for it. One of my priest students made an attempt but he was not able to complete the full 24 hours because where he was practicing-in some remote place in Mexico, there were storms that interfered with his meditations. He’ll be sending me his own notes from his experiences, which I’ll include in my journal.

Reflections on Dao De Jing, Chapter 16

Only in meditative states–of silence and emptiness–can we truly perceive the real nature of the 10,000 things. Only then will we understand that creation is destruction, that motion is stillness, that all energy is always there, forming and dissolving in various phases according to the flow.

Knowing this, feeling this, experiencing this keeps Not Two at the forefront. Not Two leads to non-attachment, since everything we need is here, we are all that is and ever was.

Missing the true nature of things creates dualities, which lead to cravings, desires, attachments, suffering.

In knowing the truth, we understand that though the body may break down and dissolve, the energy that is us is ever-lasting, existing beyond time and space as part of the Great Dao this is the essence of it all. Knowing the truth therefor leads to immortality–a vision of eternal oneness. Not knowing this leads to the illusion of perish.

Witness all things changing constantly, emerging, living, returning, dissolving
Like the seasons
Like Breath
Like life, like death
Awareness of this
the constant flux, brings realization of true nature
A vision of Not Two–all things endlessly pulsating
like the blood pumping from the heart of Dao
A vision of Not Two brings eternal love
which is Dao
which is infinite
There is no me
There is no now
There is only Tao
And this is enough

by Jeremy Pollack

Newsletter Summer 2013 – Zuowang

There are several nice articles out there about Zuowang meditation practice.  Articles that explain that one sits and forgets (self, separateness, etc) or sits in what Livia Kohn describes as ‘sitting in oblivion’.  For a beginner mediator this terminology may not be very helpful since they may be challenged by simply “sitting”, period.  The mind racing about with a seemingly endless stream of thoughts arising. Various sensations such as an itch or twitch or an ache here or there all seeming to ask for attention and with this a reaction.  So, the beginner meditator reacts by scratching the itch or adjusting their body to relieve the discomfort. Thoughts may form around these sensations, and the cycle of monkey mind continues.
I have sat with intermediate mediators who shifted their body in response to sensations. How can they have stillness in mind if they are not having stillness in body? To advance in meditation, to truly sit in Zuowang, one practices stillness of both body and mind.  So, here is what I tell beginning mediators:  When a sensation arises, watch it without reacting to it.  Just simply sit with it.  Observe how the sensation changes and then vanishes.  It’s the same with thoughts.  Just simply watch them arise and pass. Keep practicing, noting the sensation and not reacting to it.  Just watch.  With ongoing practice, the mediator is able to sit for short periods and then longer periods without making bodily adjustments.  In doing this sitting still practice, one is also training the mind in stillness.

Written by Priest Tina Hamilton