Zen Buddhist. Emergency Physician. DaD.

DISCIPLINE AND FLEXIBILITY

In Arthur Braverman's "Living and Dying in Zazen," he unwinds the story of Kodo Sawaki Roshi's lineage and the strong spirit of zazen practice formed by Uchiyama Roshi in the 1960s and 70s. Uchiyama balances ancient traditional forces with modernity and convention, but he went beyond these. Braverman relates:

 

“While Japan has an ancient warrior tradition that glorifies dominance, aggression, and violence, it also has a tradition that prizes refined beauty, compassion, and emotional sensitivity. Zen culture contains both elements and the military tradition often seems to dominate at training temples. At Antaiji however, one perceived the masculine and feminine, coexisting. “ (Braverman, Arthur. Living and Dying in Zazen: Five Zen Masters of Modern Japan. Weatherhill. 2003. Pg 117.)

 

Duality and paradox construct the barriers of our own lives wherever we might be. Thousands of years of human civilization and we still struggle over "masculine versus feminine." We deny that they live within each other. 

 

Within my life, with attempts to function as a simple human, is the struggle between discipline and flexibility. Productivity is a loaded term, but we imagine all the lists of activities we like or feel must involve in our lives. We sit zazen. We exercise. Go for a walk. Run. Hike. Swing kettlebells. Ride a bicycle. Stretch even. We eat healthful foods like mangos, kale, and zucchini. We read interesting books. Like what Dōgen Zenji said. Maybe what Mark Twain wrote. Maybe what Tim Ferris, or some other blogger, claims helps focus and production. We want to learn (at least I do). We desire knowing the birds and the flowers. There is the news. One who does not keep up with momentary matters is potentially careless. But you can also be missing fundamentals within all the noise. One cannot be thinking and working on a more deep level. 

 

 

Braverman, Arthur. Living and Dying in Zazen: Five Zen Masters of Modern Japan. Weatherhill. 2003. Pg 117.

 

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