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Blog: Blog2
  • Writer's pictureRobert D. Bessler

Living Your Practice

Updated: Jun 17, 2019

In my book, I shared the complete cycle of meditation. Essentially, I broke it down into 3 distinct phases. It begins with the practice of seated meditation in a quiet place (controlled environment) as you learn the methods and become proficient with the practice. Eventually, you achieve success with the practice. But this is not the end, and this is the reason many monks, priests, or those in caves never reach the full realization of meditation. The last stage is to be able to walk in the world (uncontrolled environment) while holding the meditative state in all they do. It quite literally becomes who you are instead of something you do. You are transformed. In other words; we sit to practice achieving no-mind. Then we achieve no-mind. Then we must stand and walk from day to day, living our lives, while maintaining no-mind. This is the totality of these practices and applies to the attainment of emptiness, egolessness, etc. I use no-mind here because attaining no-mind is the ultimate goal of meditation. To transcend the mind and live in consciousness. The same process is held for qigong, martial arts, spirituality, or any other practice you undertake.

I came to realize this for myself through decades of my own practice and direct experience. Countless hours of esoteric Buddhism practice, Taoist meditations, and even Zazen, allowed me to come to know this as truth. Much, much later I became aware of the Zen master, Kakuan, who stressed this same concept through the story of the “10 Bulls of Zen.” Originally there were only 8 picture-plates depicting the process of finding the bull, but he added 2 more to the set to total 10. Why would he do this? Because the last plate in the original series ended with the attainment of emptiness. The realization of emptiness is not the end however. In the final 2 plates, Kakuan shares the return of the monk to the marketplace after finding the “bull.” This symbolizes the return into the world as a transcended being, holding the attainment of emptiness in all he did in his daily life. This is the final and most challenging test. In this way we re-enter the world as a transcended being and escape all illusion and delusion while living a normal day-to-day life. Although at this stage, there’s nothing “normal” about you or the life you live.

Carefully consider this statement by the Zen Master, Miao Tsan…..

“Accomplished practitioners, as well as practitioners in denial of reality, try to focus their lives on spiritual cultivation. While diligent practice is critical, what is easily overlooked is the manner in which the practitioner handles the problems of daily life. This is the true test of his practice; it is the deciding factor of the effectiveness of his effort. The ordeal of life is directly connected to the individual’s karma, and the focal point of a practitioner’s learning is to apply his spiritual attainment while facing the challenges in each moment of his life.” ~ Master Miao Tsan

Please feel the truth of this matter for yourselves, and once realized, apply it to your own practices in order to fully embrace their entirety.

The Ten Ox-Herding Plates. Painted by Tatsuhiko Yokoo. Taishoby Kubota

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