‘It is about letting your intuition take over’

Ryosoku-in Temple’s deputy abbot, Toryo Ito talks about the secrets of zazen…
Ryosoku-in Temple’s deputy abbot Toryo Ito on the secrets of zazen
By Time Out Tokyo Editors |

in association with Crea

It is not about discovery or goals
‘Modern man always seeks to find a purpose and conclusion in every activity, Zazen takes a step away from that and is simply a time to feel satisfied and fulfilled. We tend to use our minds to set goals for ourselves. Even if we achieve those goals, new ones loom before us. Truly finding satisfaction is quite difficult. In other words, if you are unable to be satisfied and fulfilled in the moment, you never will be. Zazen helps you find that moment.’

It can start with just one hand
‘With zazen, you switch from thinking with your mind to using your body’s intuition. One simple way of experiencing this is to extend your right hand in front of your body, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. You will start to feel a range of sensations in your right hand. We use this initial exploration as a guide to seated meditation.’

It is about listening to your body
‘In ordinarily life, our mind dictates about 90 percent of our activity and our body 10 percent. Zazen seeks to reverse that equation - it’s about gently letting your body’s intuition take over, and we hope students will become more acquainted with that feeling.’

The effects are incredible
‘After seated meditation, you will feel a sense of fulfilment at allowing your body to refocus. This may sound clichéd, but you’ll become aware of the present moment and that which is around you, your consciousness will be more alert. Tracing the contours of that sensation is what zazen is all about.”

591 Komatsu-cho, Higashiyama-ku (075 561 6363). Open 8am-4.30pm daily. Zazen lesson ¥1,000. Booking required. 60 mins per lesson. www.ryosokuin.com

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