This past Saturday was perhaps the last time that there would be training at my Zen Master’s house. He’s fixin’ to sell the place and immigrate to France. While I was serving tea, he corrected my form, and I was struck that there would not be many of these opportunities left. After sitting, while we drank coffee, he said that I would need to find ways to continue training on my own on a daily basis, that it would be a necessary self discipline to go further, not only in my Zen training, but also in my professional life, and I knew he was right. So here is my resolve! To rise early every day to engage in 15-30 minutes of calisthenics, followed by 45 minutes of zazen. I also intend to supplement this with martial arts training in the evenings. I’m going to do this every day for a year, even if I’m traveling.
The importance of everyday training
In Japanese, the term for “everyday mind/body training” is “Mainichi Shugyo”. The importance of this cannot be overstated; the difference between training 7 days a week and 3 days a week is “night and day”. Traditionally it has been difficult for me to do much training outside of a formal structure, but as such this is something that must be done; doing something that isn’t easy to satisfy an internal will, versus an external will (like going to work because you don’t want your boss to yell at you), is also “night and day”. Announcing this aloud on my blog will hopefully encourage me to follow through on this resolution. If you see me, ask if I’ve been keeping up with my routine. If I haven’t, give me shitâ€”and if I have, say “What do you want, a pat on the back? What you’re doing is only a matter of course.”