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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Just What is Meditation

Nov 03, 2016 10:09AM ● By Seijaku Roshi

I often remind people that Jesus was not a Christian, or Buddha a Buddhist. There was no Buddhist tradition when the historical Buddha sat under a tree. He sat and meditated on that historical day for days without knowing at all what would follow or that what would follow would benefit untold generations to come. He “just sat”, what the Japanese call “shikantaza” or “just sitting”. He just sat down and watched closely the workings of his mind and his experience, his environment and his “thinkingness”. Meditation, or Zazen as we Zen-Buddhists refer to it, begins when we too just sit down without knowing at all, without anticipating—or manipulating, without judgement or discrimination—and open our minds and our hearts to “unknown” possibilities.

The meditation of the Buddha is not what we usually practice in our modern world. It is by nature, “The Art of Engaging Life, Your Life, as it Really is and as It Really Can Be,” and I don’t mean the way you expect it to be or hope it to be. Real meditation, like authentic spirituality, is about life as mystery and discovery. It has nothing to do with trying to manipulate my experience or my circumstances in any particular direction or ideal.

Fundamental to all spiritual teachings is the conviction that, “You are Buddha”—you are and have always been hardwired for all the joy, the love, the happiness, the peace of mind and body, the universe abundantly possesses and one might say, “Has to Offer.” But you are never going to know that, to really know that in your very flesh and bones, if you keep trying to be someone more, better, or different, and never living the life you’ve got, always trying to replace it with your idea of a “good life”.

Real meditation has to do with embracing every moment of your life with appreciation, gratitude, and a willingness to see it without the filters of the Ego. This takes courage and training. It takes courage to discover sometimes, what we don’t want to see. It takes courage and a special kind of seeing to be grateful for our lives just for the sake of living. This is what the Buddha meant when he declared, “Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles.” It’s really great to be alive!

The Starship Life is embarking shortly; will you be on it?

I Love You.

Seijaku Roshi is the founder and spiritual director of The Zen Society, Pine Wind Zen Community, located at 863 McKendimen Rd., in Shamong, NJ. He is a Zen-Buddhist Monk, parent, author, life coach and abbot. For more information, visit   

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