Buddhism, Eastern Philosophy, Zen

The Energy to Sit

I have done zazen every day for forty years.  When I started my daily sitting practice, Gerald Ford was president.  Charlie’s Angels started on television.  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer.  Hank Aaron hit his final home run.  And the very last slide rule was made.

Every morning and evening, I lower myself onto my cushions, fold my legs, arrange my hands in my lap, look at the floor a meter in front of me, and breathe.  I meditate for thirty minutes.

What has fueled my meditation for all these years?  Virya is one of the practice perfections, the paramitas.  The meaning of the word from an ancient language is “hero.”  A great warrior needs virya, power and energy, to fight off enemies.  So, heroic effort?  As we all know, to sit perfectly still in the face of all that comes before us in our meditation takes that kind of energy, endurance, and courage.  To keep doing it every day, for a month, a year, ten years, half a century, and finally to do it just to do it, to sit still as an expression of who we truly are, takes commitment and conviction of heroic proportions.

All the effort, determination, discipline, and energy in our practice leads to wisdom and compassion.  We gather indomitable strength to help others.

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