Zuo ch'an

I had my second ch’an meditation class with Wei tonight. A chat about various things, including mountains near Xi’an that are popular with Buddhist and Daoist recluses, followed by a half-hour zuo ch’an session. Wah, I was tired; about twenty minutes in, I started nodding… but got woken up by the chime of a bell – Wei was observing carefully! He says I’m still putting too much effort into breathing, and my chest moves too much; I should breath more shallowly, and be perfectly still. I do not find this easy to achieve. He’s dead right, though, about not trying to breathe; once I stopped worrying about breathing from the dantien, the block that’s kept my breath at my chest gradually went away, and I found the lower abdomen, especially at the back, was starting to expand perfectly naturally. I could of course just meditate on my own – except that I probably wouldn’t, and it’s good to get feedback, and it really is important to have some support from the sangha (in the broader sense, he’s not a monk!). This afternoon, though, I went to the Lotus Centre supermarket at Wudaokou and bought some cushions to sit on so that I can at least try to meditate more at home…

As with all of my teachers in China, we have some communications problems, but this is of course my failing; more effort needed to improve my Mandarin…

Walking home, I came back through the university gardens. Even since last weekend, the leaves are all fully out, many more flowers are in bloom, and the moon is almost full; as the Irish might say, it’s a grand evening, to be sure.

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