Teisho: A Map of Zen Training & The Jhanas

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“… Whatever your practice is, let it absorb you 

 let practice absorb you

Description: This teisho is the first talk from the Fall 2017 sesshin. In the first half of the talk, Henry outlines a map of Zen training, beginning with Bodhidharma and the two entries of Zen practice—by “practice” and by “principle”. This leads into the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the Six Paramitas, which are analogous to the early stages of  the ten oxherding pictures which depict the Zen path.

In the second half of the talk, the meditative states called the Jhanas are explored. The first four jhana states can be cultivated, as with Bodhidharma’s “entry by practice,” and each builds upon the preceding one. The second four states are not as predictable, as with “entry by principle,” and are comparable to the third oxherding picture, where we catch a glimpse of something living in the bushes that we had never seen before. In stillness, we can see the five hindrances more clearly—desire, aversion, lethargy, restlessness and doubt–and find the path to the core of peace, joy and well-being that is revealed in deep states of meditative absorption. “Whatever your practice is, let it absorb you.”

Post & Featured image: Orquidea by alissonlisboaribeiroCCO Public Domain.

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