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Tomato Buddha

Zazen, mindfulness, and salad.

by
Charlie Martin

Bio

August 11, 2013 - 3:00 pm
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It really is all tomatoes all the time this week in the Martin household, so I thought I’d make it a trifecta.

tomato-buddha

No, I don’t think Siddhartha used a tomato timer, but I’ve begun to see a similarity among several of the things I do as practices: Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, the Pomodoro Technique as I use it, and zazen (“zah-zen”), the basic Buddhist meditation. But to explain that, I need to explain meditation, a column I’ve been meaning to write for a while.

Meditation is one of the basics, maybe the basic, components of Buddhist practice. It was the primary sort of meditation that Buddha taught his followers. In Japanese traditions, it’s called shikantaza (只管打坐, Chinese “Zhǐguǎn dǎzuò”) — which simply means “nothing but sitting.”

Okay, so it’s “just sitting”. Pretty easy, eh?

But wait, there’s more!

The trick is, it’s just sitting and nothing else. If you sit down someplace comfortable, turn off the radio and the TV, relax and let your eyes become unfocused, and just sit, pretty quickly one of two things will happen: either you’ll find your mind consumed with thoughts, or you’ll fall asleep. Maybe both. Your mind becomes consumed with one thought, and then another — sexual fantasies, imagined arguments with whomever you might be arguing with, blog posts or comments or what you would have said if you’d have just thought of it then. You find yourself dwelling on thoughts, and so you’re no longer just sitting.

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All Comments   (4)
All Comments   (4)
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Okay, the Pomodoro technique and Tomato Buddha tell me one thing...spaghetti sauce. Does that make me a bad person? I did read Taubes' books and am practicing a low-carb diet which has netted me a 40lb weight loss to date (255 to 215). I strongly suspect that I'll have to do something different to get to the next level, oh, like, exercise, or something...You can have my pizza when you pry it from my cold, dead, tomato-stained hands...
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent description. Also timely reminder for the chronicly scatterbrained that it's time to return to practices. Thank you
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
WOW! I will re-read this several times. I'm a bit concerned about the rectum up thing but, i'll manage. When in prayerful meditation, which isn't actively praying at all, I center on the "still small voice of God" and the command to "Be still and know that I AM God." I love tomatoes, and when I start barking due to asthma, go back to one. Got it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Augh, I meant to put in pictures. here's one: http://www.missourizencenter.org/images/Zazen1.gif
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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