Guofeng: It was one more “I” who came out to cause trouble for myself
—- Sharing on the 3-day retreat (3R3), 2015/04/18 ~ 20
I was somehow calmer than the first time I attended a retreat when the taxi was driving up to the retreat site. But I got nervous when the taxi stopped in front of the church and when I walked down the stairs to the check in point. I had not been meditating for two weeks, and it would be disastrous in the following two days and one night (I needed to work on Monday, so I could only attend a 2-day retreat). However, I was there. All I could do was hanging in there.
I slept almost the entire session in the evening. I did not come back to my consciousness until the teacher reminded me by her Zen stick or hands. I was totally blank in the duration. All the sitting sessions before Saturday’s lunch, I drifted from drowsiness to leg pain and from leg pain to drowsiness. I tried to perk myself up to doubt on no self, but naturally my mind and body slacked off, choosing sleep to ignore the pain. The teacher corrected me during a break. She told me that I had a leg length discrepancy, so I always leaned to my right side when I sat on the cushion. If I kept leaning to the right side to reduce the leg pain, I would have scoliosis, and also my organs would be pushed to one side. Upon hearing it, I was anxious and wanted to correct my sitting posture. But when the pain reached the limit in the afternoon, my entire body was shaking, and my conscious was calculating on how to reduce the pain by leaning to the right side. I told my teacher I was too painful to doubt. The teacher told me directly that my performance on the sitting cushion exactly reflected my personality in daily life. She told me that I slacked off, shaking my body to show my pain, so that she would not care about it at all. She asked me I should use my stubborn and my strong will to face the pain and continue my doubt. I felt so ashamed and speechless. I knew clearly in my mind that I had no one else to rely on but me. In that evening, when I was aware of my drowsiness and the trembling pain, I knew that it was I who came out to cause trouble for myself, and I could not lean my body to the right side.
Onto the next day on Sunday morning, my conscious continued to struggle between the leg pain and leaning to the right. In the afternoon, the teacher reminded me use the pain to doubt, especially to enlarge the moment when I felt pain to doubt. In the following sitting sessions, my right hip joint hurt, like burning or needling. I was trembling and felt extremely uncomfortable. Good lord! My right waist began to cramp. Is this real body no self? My consciousness doubted to tremble, to breakdown. Suddenly, a thought flashed to me, “It would be the similar pain when a cancer patient at the end of his life. If I could not maintain my consciousness now, how can I face my death with no panic, no fear?” After that, my conscious calmed down. I felt my body relaxed slowly although I still felt pain. Watching the dimly-lit street when leaving the retreat site in the evening, I recalled the class when the first time I came to the None Zen Center. The teacher’s slide showed a Zen story about devoting or exchanging one’s whole life to do Zen practice. Suddenly I asked myself a question, “What or to what level would I devote to practice Zen?” What a big question! **** check for more Students’ Sharing ****