During last night’s sitting session, I started to experience a lot of pain in my right kua. At first, I was just trying to hold the posture, but I think over time, I’m using my legs to try and hold my body upright which could be causing a lot of tension in my kua region. The pain got so bad that I had to stop about 10 mins into the session! I walked around a bit, stretched and then tried it again. This time I only lasted about 10 mins before it hit me again.
I’m starting to wonder if it’s perhaps due to my makeshift cusion which consists of a folded up pillow and a blanket. I’ve actually been eyeballing a meditation set called the Mountain Seat Zafu and Zabuton Set but it’s quite pricey at $185. Are all meditation related supplies this pricey?
Note that I started to wonder about the cushion during my sitting session.. not a good thing as my mind is still wandering around trying to find things to cling to. I’ve even modified my sitting position to face the wall, very similar to my first 20 sitting session at a local zen center. I have to admit, this was quite possibly one of the most grueling 20 mins I ever encountered in my life as my back hurt, my legs hurt, my ankles hurt and my mind was going nuts. I felt like I needed to jump up and shake my body around or something…
Speaking of mind, Tyson Williams wrote about the perfection of concentration which couldn’t have come at a better time. One of the things that continually enters my mind is the difference between calm abiding meditation (samatha) and insight meditation (vipassana). I know some buddhist traditions, especially the tibetan lines really emphasize that true enlightment can only be obtained within the practice of vipassana. I do understand the logic as the goal of this is to gain insight into the true nature and reality of whatever, but in my own understanding of zen traditions, the main focus is samatha and the intent is that samatha is enlightenment in and of itself. What then, is the role of vipassana within the zen tradition?
Another thing I really enjoy about the tibetan traditions is the emphasis on compassion and equinamity. I think they even have meditations that focus on compassion. I don’t recall this type of thing within the zen tradition, but it could be my ignorance too.