Zuowang 2

From shifu Michael’s third book coming out in January 2019

Shifu Michael RinaldiniAs a follow-up to my previous entry on the Three Vitalities, I have done some preliminary research and will shortly be posting my findings here in my journal. Pretty interesting stuff, you’ll appreciate the many benefits of these three simple qigong exercises. As for now, I have about 30 minutes before my Tuesday evening meditation class. I always start with a brief reading on zuowang meditation, some Daoist scripture, or something else related. Tonight I went back to my beginnings of learning about Zuowang meditation to Livia Kohn’s book, Sitting In Oblivion, The Heart of Daoist Meditation. In her introduction chapter to Zuowang, she makes a poignant point on her reason for translating, and hence titling her book, “oblivion” instead of the more common translation of Zuowang as “sitting and forgetting.” Professor Kohn translates “wang” as “oblivion” and “oblivious” rather than “forgetting” or “forgetful” because the meaning of to forget something is associated to an active state of mind as “one should remember” something. Professor Kohn says this way of describing the mind of the ancient Chinese Daoist practitioner is not in sync with those times. Instead, she looks at the Chinese character breakdown of “wang.” Part of the character contains “xin” for “mind-heart” and it is associated with “conscious and emotional reactions to reality.” The rest of the character refers to “wang” for “obliterate or perish.” If you put all of this together, you get a meaning that if you let go of all reactive states of mind you can then enter a state of calm, which is the entryway to the experience of the Dao. (Kohn 2010, 1) Okay, time to go meditate now with my students.

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