Dogen Sangha Blog


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Friday, February 29, 2008

Zazen Sensation and Focus

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

First I would like to thank you for always taking the time to respond to questions. It is very helpful, and much appreciated.

My first question is about a certain sensation I have while sitting. Once I have been sitting for about 10 or 15 minutes, I feel a rising sensation in my spine and the crown of my head. It is as if the crown of my head is attached to a bunch of balloons and is being carried upwards. I try not to focus on this sensation and instead observe it. From what I can tell, there is very little if any, change in my posture or how erect I am sitting when I begin to have this sensation. I was curious if this is something natural, something that will pass, or something that indicates there is something wrong with my practice or my posture.

Also, I have a ringing in my ears called tinnitus. I have been to an accupuncturist for treatment and he told me that it would reduce the ringing in my ears if I focus on my dantian while I sit. He is a Taoist practitioner, and does sit regularly. My question to you is, would focusing on my dantian take away from my practice of zazen? Do you believe I should practice each of these two things seperately, or can I practice them together?

Thank you very much,

Dear Jared San,

Thank you for your question. First of all we should notice that our body and mind are not always so normal before we practice Zazen. And so when we begin Zazen, we usually recognize our abnormal habits of our body and mind, which we do not recognize usually. But those strange facts should not be worried about at all.

And in such a situation it is better for you to regulate your posture of Zazen, but if it is impossible for you to correct it, there is no problem. Please continue your Zazen, and you can correct your posture of Zazen by daily practice for so long time. Because your daily practice of Zazen will continue throughout your whole life.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima


Blogger Jared said...

Nishijima Roshi,

Thank you very much for your reply! I am glad that the sensation is nothing to worry over.

I was wondering if you would be able to answer my second question. Would it be disruptive to my practice of zazen if I began focusing on my dantian while sitting? Is this practice in accordance with zazen, or should I practice the two seperately?

Thank you,

9:21 AM, March 03, 2008  
Blogger vinegar-daoist said...

The sensation of rising, I believe, is the rising of your qi. Focusing for a while on dan tien may eleviate that sensation.

You can also focus on dan tien while doing santi or standing practise.

11:00 PM, March 03, 2008  
Blogger Jared said...

That would make sense with what the accupuncturist told me about my rising qi causing my tinnitus.

I find that when I do santi I am focusing on correcting my body too much to focus on my dantian. By standing practice do you mean bai fut sao?

1:51 AM, March 04, 2008  
Blogger Harry said...

Hi Jared,

Might your tinnitus, like mine, actually have been caused by inner ear damage due to listening to very, very loud music and moshing?

Silly notion I know, but I thought I'd throw it in there ;-)



9:12 PM, March 04, 2008  
Blogger Jared said...

Haha this is very possible!I've had more than my fair share of loud music. It might also be due to severe ear infections that I had as a young child. While my accupuncturist does firmly believe that it is caused or atleast worsened by stress, an ear specialist I saw said that there are a lot of causes and you can never really be sure which one it is. Oh well...

7:32 AM, March 06, 2008  

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