Wednesday, April 06, 2005

See blog title

Quite a number of visitors to my blog arrive here by googling for 'shikantaza', so I thought I would avoid the bad karma of disappointing them by providing some information about the term (from The Three Pillars of Zen):
...shikan-taza is a heightened state of concentrated awareness wherein one is neither tense nor hurried, and certainly never slack. It is the mind of somebody facing death. Let us imagine that you are engaged in a duel of swordsmanship of the kind that used to take place in ancient Japan. As you face your opponent you are unceasingly watchful, set, ready. Were you to relax your vigilance even momentarily, you would be cut down instantly. A crowd gathers to see the fight. Since you are not blind you see them from the corner of your eye, and since you are not deaf you hear them. But not for an instant is your mind captured by these sense impressions.