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Buddhadharma : Fall 2017
fall 2017 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 43 The past cannot be found anywhere. The future is also a fiction. This moment is indeed the only moment that has ever happened. In the practice of non-meditation, when you sit down it is the first and only time you have ever practiced. In the Mahamudra tradition, we find the term soma, which means “fresh,” and it refers to the truth of the newness of our present experience. If we can find freshness in our sitting practice, it remains dynamic, adventur- ous, and joyful. We can reclaim that sense of discovery and excitement that we began with as practitioners. Spring 2016 Practice: You Can’t Do It Wrong By Barry Magid Zen master Dogen said that zazen was not a meditation technique but was instead the dharma gate of enjoyment and ease. Yet how often we stray from that reminder, especially when we are sitting alone. A technique is something we can do right or wrong, well or badly. True prac- tice is about being grounded in a place free from these dichotomies. So we need to frame our practice in such a way that we do not get lost in dualisms of right or wrong, progress or the lack of it. I have found that a good way of maintaining this perspective is to liken sit- ting to looking in a mirror. When you sit down on your cushion, the state of your mind and body automatically appears to you, the way your face instantly appears in a mirror. The mirror does all the work. You can’t do it right or wrong. Approach your sitting in the same way. You can’t do it wrong. It’s not a technique to master or something you can fail at. It’s just being yourself, being your experience of this moment, over and over. It’s simple but, if we’re honest, not always easy. Why? Because we don’t always like what we see in the mirror. We are tempted to either turn away or try to touch up our image. We want our sitting to make us what we are not; we want to be calm, clear, or enlightened. We’d like to be able to call that rejection of our self just as we are “aspiration,” but all too often it’s just another word for self-hate. Sitting, first and foremost, is sitting with who we are—what we see in the mirror. Our practice is to sit and look and say to ourselves, over and over, “That’s me.” Spring 2010