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October 21, 2013


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I find it helpful to understand zazen as a yogic practice. If we look at “dhyana” in Hinduism (where yoga flourishes), Lord Shankar described 108 different forms. So when we talk about “dhyana”, one example I find helpful is to look at our understanding of “sports”. There are many different ways to practice sports and while they all fall under the same umbrella, they exercise different capacities and different skills – which arguably come down to enjoyment of bettering ourselves. So, for me, the best understanding of this umbrella of meditative practice is “religious contemplation” which is rooted in meditation but also incorporates various modes of thought and understanding, including the figurative or postural, as well as the conceptual and the experiential. Thus I prefer the term “religious contemplation” over “meditation” when realizing the meaning of “dhyana”. This is a dialectical and non-dual view and one not easily conveyed without misunderstandings. I can also accept “dhyana” as meditation.

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