Posted inDharma, General News & Announcements, Introduction to Zen, Valerie's Messages

Message from Valerie: Alive!

February 8, 2023

The ‘Recorded Sayings of Joshu’ include an exchange where a monk – possibly a newcomer to practice, asks Joshu or Chao-chou, “What is meditation?” (The question could be translated, “What is zazen?”) Joshu responds, “It’s not meditation.” The monk asks, “What is it?” Joshu says, “It’s alive! It’s alive!”

Yesterday morning, some 50 people gathered in the Mountain Cloud zendo to explore Zen meditation. What is it? What difference does it make? How to plant a practice?

Participants ranged from ‘first-timers’ to longtime practitioners, entering the beginner’s mind of this practice: dropping preconceived ideas, releasing judgment; cultivating the mind of curiosity, venturing into the dynamic simplicity of returning again and again to the present moment.

This body.
This breath.
This moment. 

Thanks to St. John’s organizers and students, and to each one who ventured into the shared exploration. Thanks also to co-host Lisa, to Joe – Mountain Cloud’s Caretaker, to our welcoming residents, and to members of the sangha who were on hand to help. 

Sitting Zen makes clear the horizon of practice is infinite – and each one’s presence is a gift, unique and unrepeatable. 

Alert, alive, aware, awake.
Always beginning and already so. 

footer support banner image

Support Mountain Cloud

You can show your gratitude for Mountain Cloud events, retreats, podcasts and other teachings by making a one-time gift, or by becoming a supporting member.

Donate to Mountain Cloud Become a Member