Sunday, November 22, 2009

My first zazenkai

I went to zazenkai yesterday. That means seven zazens and one teisho, with two breaks, a work period (cleaning the zendo), and walking meditation in between, for about five hours of sitting (including the teisho).

For the last ten minutes or so, my legs hurt like fuck. (I'm still not able to sit cross-legged for any serious amount of time, and sitting in seiza or "diamond" position is taxing on both the legs and the back.) When I got home, I went to bed early and slept for eleven hours. In other words, it was tiring, both physically and mentally.

Today, however, I feel very good, also both physically and mentally. I don't think this is a coincidence; there's something to be said for pushing your limits a little bit. I want to do this again, although not right away -- and I think I still have a fair bit of work to do before I can move up to the next step, which would be a weekend retreat.


  1. Great, congratulations! Zazenkai is a really great opportunity to deepen personal practice and it gets easier every time but most important, I think, is to keep on sitting on a regular, daily basis. Without daily practice of zazen, zazenkai can be like a fun ride on a rollercoaster but that's all; of course it's helpful but it doesn't replace daily, regular zazen. We have zazenkai every month that practitioners have an possibility to deepen their practice, regularly, like you said "for pushing your limits a little bit". Zazen is not always pleasant, life is not always pleasant but that's why zazen is called a practice. I don't know if you care but here's some Finnish text also about this topic:

    Take care, all the best! I'm glad I have found your blog. Interesting writings and cool pictures, thank you!


  2. Thanks! I do sit daily, more or less; have been for a few months now. All else aside, there's no way I could physically make it through a zazenkai if I didn't!

    I think we may have crossed paths at the Kalevankatu zendo, by the way -- weren't you there for Sante-sensei's teisho in August?

  3. Yes, I was listening him, it was a nice event. Sante Poromaa seemed like a real nice person.

    It's a really lovely zendo and lovely people. Say my best regards to Sami, Ari and Marja if you see them!

    Thank you for your efforts. It's always a pleasure to meet a fellow practitioner.

  4. Will do, Cap'n. Ari blogs too, by the way -- it's the Zen kommentteja one in my sidebar.