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The physical effects of meditation.

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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby chankin1937 on Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:31 pm

Joe,
chankin1937 wrote:To tell the truth, I was taking a back handed swipe at Joe’s insistence that we won’t become wise or compassionate until we are magically “awakened”.


Joe wrote: , Shakyamuni……. awakened. Wisdom arose in him. Compassion arose in him. He got up from his seat under the tree (to open this Way for others).


Hello Joe,
According to legend, it was the disturbing sights Gotama saw on his excursions outside his palace that motivated him to begin his quest. He had plenty of compassion from the get-go because he swapped a life of luxury and excess for the poverty of an aspirant..
His “awakening” refers to his enlightenment, when he finally understood and gained the “wisdom” of what it was all about, evoking his wholly complete and succinct summary of the subject,
“Nirvana is the extinction of dukkha”.

I am trying to imagine what valid point you are making by ignoring the scientific evidence referred to in the OP. Please explain.
Colin
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby chankin1937 on Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:54 pm

Avisitor
chankin1937 wrote:To tell the truth, I was taking a back handed swipe at Joe
There is no need to wait – even a little meditation will do!After sixty years, I must be one of the most compassionate and wise men in the world! Hail!


Avisitor wrote: No, you are not one of the most compassionate and wise men in the world when you are taking a back handed swipe at Joe or anyone.
Wisdom and compassion means working with someone and not against them to bring about a better result .. not back handed swipes


Hello Avisitor.
Have you read any of the records of treatments the Zen Masters meted out to their students ?
The verbal and physical abuse, the beatings, the tramplings? If a verbal back-handed swipe can bring someone to their senses, that would be pretty mild compared to the traditional methods. Expecting the impossible must be a huge obstacle in zazen.
How compassionate is that! ;)

[No, I am not implying that I am a Zen Master.}

Edit: For most people, conceit and misconceptions do not make for awakening


I would amend that to all people.
Colin
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:46 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:According to legend, it was the disturbing sights Gotama saw on his excursions outside his palace that motivated him to begin his quest. He had plenty of compassion from the get-go because he swapped a life of luxury and excess for the poverty of an aspirant.

Above, you show that you just have a simple vocabulary-problem, Colin. Not to worry. It's surmountable.

In Buddhism, when we speak of Compassion, what's meant is true Compassion. I usually include the word "true" when I refer to this compassion that is revealed, and allowed to arise, at awakening and after. It is neither sympathy, nor pity.

What you refer to is sympathy, and it is some kind of feeling. That is not true Compassion which Buddhists speak of. And, Sympathy, when acted-on, is also an action which is productive of karma. True compassion does not produce karma. Some people think that sympathy is not too bad. However, it is not what we are talking about at all when we (Buddhists... ) speak about true Compassion. Apples and Oranges.

Because you rely on reading, re-reading, and mis-understanding old books to create your misinformed opinions on Dharma, I hope that, when your vocabulary is up to speed, you may at least understand a little better how words are used, and what they actually mean to refer to.

I'm glad to help further if I can. For example -- by the way -- true Wisdom is not the wisdom you refer to in other conversations.

So, mark these two words up as new words for you: true Compassion, and true Wisdom.

Now, Buddhists often use the original languages when referring to some specifically Buddhist phenomena. Thus, karuna is true Compassion. And prajña is true Wisdom. We can do that (use them... ) to avoid confusion, and to save ink by not having to write true Compassion, and true Wisdom (all the time). Because, truly, karuna and prajña are NOT ordinary compassion and wisdom. They come (are uncovered, and enabled to arise) only upon awakening, and they arise spontaneously in seamless accord with circumstances, ...not as a result of volition, bidding, rationcination, nor logicizing.

I am trying to imagine what valid point you are making by ignoring the scientific evidence referred to in the OP. Please explain

At first appearance of your OP, I had hopes that your subject line would not mis-lead. When you advertised "physical effects", that is, I'd hoped to read about physical effects. Instead, you quote some 2nd- or 3rd-party things about brain-scans, and none of the physical effects in the process of practice which practitioners experience and report. Try again.

--Joe
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby Nonin on Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:38 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:Since joining this forum ,I have been consistently accused of doing that very thing!

Rightfully so, too. We note that you practice neither zazen nor Zen Buddhism, though you pay lip service to some old Zen Buddhists' utterances, and to mystics, and Mr. Paul Brunton.

"One's own way" is a fine outer-path indeed, from the perspective of Zen Buddhism.

--Joe


As Joe has noted, it clear to those of us who practice zazen and Zen Buddhism that Colin does not practice either. He does meditate, or at least says that he does, but I don't understand why this thread is in the Zen Buddhism part of ZFI.

We who do practice and teach zazen and the many other Zen Buddhist practices handed down to us by our Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Western ancestors, such as kinhin, devotional practices (chanting, bowing, ritual, and ceremony), work practice, art practice, interviews with the teacher, dharma study (both academic and otherwise), etc. hope that those who are new to Zen Buddhism and are looking for some guidance, do not take the words of someone who doesn't practice Zen Buddhism, mis-interpets the words of the Buddhas and ancestors, and quotes others who row their own boats and call them "Zen" as worthy guideposts on the Zen Buddhist path.

If anyone is interesting in PRACTICING Zen Buddhism in all its depth and breadth, please 1. sit zazen regularly after receiving instruction from an authorized teacher, 2. practice under the guidance or either that teacher or another, and 3. practice with a group of fellow practitioners. Reading stuff posted on the internet may be entertaining, but taking the words of a non-practitioner as the true nature of Zen Buddhism will only distort one's understanding and draw one far away from true Zen Buddhist practice.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:44 pm

Nonin Roshi, and Mods and Admins,

Nonin wrote:As Joe has noted, it clear to those of us who practice zazen and Zen Buddhism that Colin does not practice either. He does meditate, or at least says that he does, but I don't understand why this thread is in the Zen Buddhism part of ZFI.

Yup, scratchin' my grey hairs on that one, too (oops, I find myself sporting -- or sprouting -- some, maybe more than you are / do. Or, perhaps you take the razor to the pate, while I never do, nor often to the face, truth be told. Gillette, Inc., would be Chapter 11, if they had to rely on ME). :tongueincheek:

Maybe Moderators would consider a clean-shave and "move" this thread to the board-area, "Any Thing Else Discussions", or etc., not Buddhadharma-related. Tnx, considering this, Mods. and Admins. It would seem more appropriate.

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby Michaeljc on Fri Jan 15, 2016 8:11 am

I cannot see that any interested parties who take the time to follow this forum for a reasonable length of time will take Colin's advice seriously

There is merit in what he advocates but it quite clearly cannot be interpreted as being of the unique nature that constitutes legitimate Zen Buddhist practice

'Awakening' is the key component of this practice. Intensive retreats (sesshin) is another. Awareness of impermanence is another. No mature Zen student is going to adopt just one form of practice Infinitum or claim that it is the all and end-all

As I'm seeing right now

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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby chankin1937 on Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:54 pm

Joe,
chankin1937 wrote:According to legend, it was the disturbing sights Gotama saw on his excursions outside his palace that motivated him to begin his quest. He had plenty of compassion from the get-go because he swapped a life of luxury and excess for the poverty of an aspirant.


Joe wrote: Above, you show that you just have a simple vocabulary-problem, Colin. Not to worry. It's surmountable. In Buddhism, when we speak of Compassion, what's meant is true Compassion. I usually include the word "true" when I refer to this compassion that is revealed, and allowed to arise, at awakening and after. It is neither sympathy, nor pity.


Hello Joe,
The dictionary definition of compassion is:
“sympathy for the suffering of others, often including a desire to help.”
If “true compassion” is different then it is inferior. Please define your version.

What you refer to is sympathy, and it is some kind of feeling. That is not true Compassion which Buddhists speak of. And, Sympathy, when acted-on, is also an action which is productive of karma. True compassion does not produce karma.


Surely every action produces karma for somebody That is if you accept that karma is even a valid concept in Zen. It is an import from Buddhism. Zen point directly at the nature of man – it carries no religious baggage.

Because you rely on reading, re-reading, and mis-understanding old books to create your misinformed opinions on Dharma, I hope that, when your vocabulary is up to speed, you may at least understand a little better how words are used, and what they actually mean to refer to.


Do you mean avoid inventing new meanings for them like you?

I'm glad to help further if I can. For example -- by the way -- true Wisdom is not the wisdom you refer to in other conversations.


The definition of wisdom is:
“The ability to make sensible decisions and judgments based on personal knowledge and experience”
You might like to try it sometime.

Because, truly, karuna and prajña are NOT ordinary compassion and wisdom.


Perhaps you could explain what they are?

Ch wrote: I am trying to imagine what valid point you are making by ignoring the scientific evidence referred to in the OP. Please explain.


Joe : At first appearance of your OP, I had hopes that your subject line would not mis-lead. When you advertised "physical effects", that is, I'd hoped to read about physical effects. Instead, you quote some 2nd- or 3rd-party things about brain-scans, and none of the physical effects in the process of practice which practitioners experience and report.


The physical effects were a scientifically-determined, noticeable rise in compassion and wisdom after a very short course in meditation. Please try not to misrepresent the facts.

I realise that you are doing your best to defend the historical definitions applied to the effects of meditation. Time moves on – the Earth is no longer flat – its components are no longer earth, air, fire and water. The truth behind Zen is revealed – 21st Century Zen now on the blue button.
--Joe
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby chankin1937 on Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:50 pm

Nonin,
Nonin wrote: As Joe has noted, it clear to those of us who practice zazen and Zen Buddhism that Colin does not practice either. He does meditate, or at least says that he does, but I don't understand why this thread is in the Zen Buddhism part of ZFI.


Hello Nonin,
It is here because what I post is the essence of Zen stripped of the baggage of practices and rituals which you are promoting.
Bodhidharma, founder of the Zen lineage, is said to have described Zen this way: “A special transmission outside the scriptures / Not depending on words and letters / Pointing directly to the human mind / Seeing into one’s nature and attaining buddhahood.”
Remember what Huang po says :
“As to performing the six paramitas and vast numbers of similar practices, or gaining merits as countless as the sands of the Ganges, since you are fundamentally complete in every respect, you should not try to supplement that perfection by such meaningless practices. ……. if you are attached to forms, practices and meritorious performances, your way of thinking is false and quite incompatible with the Way.”

How can that be mis-interpreted?

We who do practice and teach zazen and the many other Zen Buddhist practices handed down to us by our Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Western ancestors, such as kinhin, devotional practices (chanting, bowing, ritual, and ceremony), work practice, art practice, interviews with the teacher, dharma study (both academic and otherwise), etc. hope that those who are new to Zen Buddhism and are looking for some guidance, do not take the words of someone who doesn't practice Zen Buddhism, mis-interpets the words of the Buddhas and ancestors, and quotes others who row their own boats and call them "Zen" as worthy guideposts on the Zen Buddhist path.


That’s not very magnanimous of you, Nonin. Zen may be the clearest way but it hasn’t cornered the market. It’s goal is the common human goal – happiness. Over the millennia how to get there has been worked out many times. In his book “Zen Flesh Zen Bones” Paul Reps gives us a quote from a Sutra four thousand years or more years old; “thinking no thing, will limited – Self unlimit.”

What any intelligent aspirant will do is examine both arguments and make up his own mind.
There is a case for preserving the traditions of a beautiful culture – you are playing a valuable role there – but any one with the slightest chance of success in meditation will do it on his own. First he must understand what he trying to do – an easy task – then he must follow the Buddha’s example and go off on his own and do it – not so easy. The books which I “mis-interpret” gave me both.

If anyone is interesting in PRACTICING Zen Buddhism in all its depth and breadth, please 1. sit zazen regularly after receiving instruction from an authorized teacher, 2. practice under the guidance or either that teacher or another, and 3. practice with a group of fellow practitioners. Reading stuff posted on the internet may be entertaining, but taking the words of a non-practitioner as the true nature of Zen Buddhism will only distort one's understanding and draw one far away from true Zen Buddhist practice.


Many Zen Masters post on the internet. Jundo Cohen runs the Treeleaf Forum.
I only ever approached the problem one way: In meditation, we observe the machinations of our mind in as detached a manner as we can muster, waiting for thoughts to fade away of their own accord, neither encouraging them nor suppressing them. We don’t entertain ideas of a method or a goal. We just remain alert and passively aware detached from all that is in and around us. Zazen is rest from mental work – it is devoid of will effort.

Any who follows this advice will eventually discover what a mind at rest feels like. In time the maelstrom of thoughts will abate and the treasure of Zen (profound peace-of-mind) will reveal itself to that person.

If that’s ineffective advice, please feel free to correct it.
I am a Zen meditator, I know why zazen works and I am qualified to post here.
Colin
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby Seeker242 on Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:04 pm

chankin1937 wrote:Knowing what happens to the structure of the brain is of no practical value to meditators.


If it helps motivate some people to actually do it everyday, I would say that has a practical value. :)
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby chankin1937 on Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:20 pm

Michaeljc wrote: I cannot see that any interested parties who take the time to follow this forum for a reasonable length of time will take Colin's advice seriously.


Hello Michaeljc,
I don’t prioritise giving advice. I concentrate on explaining why zazen works.

There is merit in what he advocates but it quite clearly cannot be interpreted as being of the unique nature that constitutes legitimate Zen Buddhist practice.


Zen Buddhist practice is an option but it is not essential. Zazen is important but insight can be had even without that!

'Awakening' is the key component of this practice.


One “awakens” on becoming enlightened . It’s just another word for that experience.

Intensive retreats (sesshin) is another.


Whatever floats your boat.

Awareness of impermanence is another.


We are all aware of that - things change – except the mind of man, stripped of all conscious mental activity.

No mature Zen student is going to adopt just one form of practice Infinitum or claim that it is the all and end-all.


Nirvana is the extinction of dukkha. Discover what that means and Keep it in mind.
Colin
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:14 pm

chankin1937 wrote:
Joe wrote:Because, truly, karuna and prajña are NOT ordinary compassion and wisdom.

Perhaps you could explain what they are?

Surely. I've said it before though that they are what arise in the awakened state, the awakened condition, in the course of daily-life and in all our interactions, around the clock.

They come out of Emptiness, and do not arise when there is a delusive self. There is thus no arising of them nor any analogue of them and their operation in an unawakened person, however, and so there is no real referent that such a person could possibly rely on to give experiential meaning to the word(s). One might seek for it, but the challenge would be like trying to describe "color" to a blind person, perhaps. One just has to practice correctly, and awaken. Then a person will know what they are (prajna, or bodhi; and karuna).

I'd suggest that there's probably not much practical value in reading-around to try to find descriptions of these phenomena and their workings, nor is there probably much put down onto paper about them. But, you be the Judge, Yer Honor, and read whatever you may find on them. You have a head-start in knowing that they are not ordinary wisdom and ordinary compassion. They are prajna, and karuna, and hence they are called prajna, and karuna.

Other practitioners here may have things to say about them, too.

--Joe
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:31 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:Nirvana is the extinction of dukkha. Discover what that means and Keep it in mind.

Nirvana is Samsara. And vice versa. So a practitioner realizes.

Nirvana is " 'dying out' of egotism", Fred Streng writes, in his landmark treatise, EMPTINESS [1967] (being a study based on Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika).

The Buddha is tathagatha, "thus-gone", blown-out. No ego there, no person as conventionally conceived.

The Principle of Ashvaghosha's AWAKENING OF FAITH is that the tathagatha is the Mind of the sentient being.

--Joe
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby chankin1937 on Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:07 pm

Joe,
chankin1937 wrote: Nirvana is the extinction of dukkha. Discover what that means and Keep it in mind.


Joe wrote: Nirvana is Samsara. And vice versa. So a practitioner realizes.


Hello Joe,
I’ve been onto Wikipedia (just to be certain) and it tells me that:

Nirvāṇa is a term used in Buddhism, It refers to the profound peace of mind that is acquired with moksha, (liberation or release. In the soteriological and eschatological sense, it connotes freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth., or release from a state of suffering), after an often lengthy period of bhāvanā :
(One has to distinguish 2 kinds: development of tranquillity (samatha-bhāvanā), i.e. concentration (samādhi), and development of insight (vipassanā-bhāvanā),

Saṃsāra (Sanskrit संसार) is the repeating cycle of birth, life and death (as well as one's actions and consequences in the past, present, and future.

How can Nirvana be samsara? Your version is the absolute opposite of the truth.

“Nirvana is the extinction of dukkha “ can be rewritten as :
Profound peace-of-mind is achieved in meditation by refraining from obsessive compulsive thinking – freedom from random and habitual thought.

Nirvana is escape from the tyranny of thinking.

It is intensely alert but passive awareness which, in creatures with our kind of central nervous system, just happens to be experienced as bliss.

(Or were you just bragging?)
Colin
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby chankin1937 on Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:17 pm

Joe,
Joe wrote :Because, truly, karuna and prajña are NOT ordinary compassion and wisdom.

Surely. I've said it before though that they are what arise in the awakened state, the awakened condition, in the course of daily-life and in all our interactions, around the clock.

There is thus no arising of them nor any analogue of them and their operation in an unawakened person, however, and so there is no real referent that such a person could possibly rely on to give experiential meaning to the word(s). One might seek for it, but the challenge would be like trying to describe "color" to a blind person, perhaps. I'd suggest that there's probably not much practical value in reading-around to try to find descriptions of these phenomena and their workings, nor is there probably much put down onto paper about them. But, you be the Judge, Yer Honor, and read whatever you may find on them. You have a head-start in knowing that they are not ordinary wisdom and ordinary compassion. They are prajna, and karuna, and hence they are called prajna, and karuna.


Hello Joe,
If there is no evidence for them then let’s apply Occam’s razor and assume that – like god – they don’t exist.
Colin
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:08 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:If there is no evidence for them then let’s apply Occam’s razor and assume that – like god – they don’t exist.

Lazy? Do your research. You'll find something in your reading. Browse the library shelves, where things are concentrated into their various fields, and you don't have to buy every book in the world in order to get lucky. Else, search the internet (though sources are not nearly so well vetted there compared with published books).

Lazy? Do correct practice, and you will discover (uncover) prajna (bodhi) and karuna.

Lazy? I'm telling you that these phenomena are realities. They are uncovered through practice. Blind-man, I can't prove to you that there is "Red", you must become "sighted". Else, read what folks have written about color. Granted, it won't make much sense to you, but you ought at least to suspend your disbelief and admit that there are "sighted"-people.

best, in these projects,

--Joe

ps ...careful with that "razor".

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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:32 pm

Colin,

Yeah, lots of guesses on the internet by non-practitioners about lots of things "Buddhist". So what.

chankin1937 wrote:How can Nirvana be samsara? Your version is the absolute opposite of the truth.

As long as you ask that as a question, there may be hope for you.

It's not "my version". ;) An awakened practitioner does not draw lines and borders in the undifferentiated dharmadhatu.

I.e., "Nirvana is Samsara", as Zen Buddhists assert.

Q.E.D.

"Right here is the Lotus Land, and
this very body, the Buddha".

(in Hakuin Zenji's "Song of Zazen")

--Joe
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:03 am

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote: I am a Zen meditator, I know why zazen works and I am qualified to post here.

Said in another way from Nonin Roshi's compassionate observations, you are qualified to misrepresent true Dharma, and to attempt to mislead others. Maybe it's not malicious, but it is then of course at least ignorant (of true Dharma). Why brag about that?

Thus, this thread does not belong in this area of the board.

You define something as "zen", and attach a century number to it. It is not Zen Buddhism. And there is no "zen".

You're some kind of TM back-engineering-guy, trying to avoid copyright-infringement by calling "your" fraudulent, hallucinated, product something other than "TM". Shame on you.

As you see, it doesn't wash here. I suggest you get yourself a blog.

--Joe
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby Nonin on Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:52 pm

Joe,

This thread has been rightfully moved to the Other Traditions area of the Board. Hopefully the original poster will hereafter post in this section of the Board.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:12 pm

Ah, thanks for the tip-off, Nonin. Now I see that (the thread's been moved).

But "Other traditions"? Dunno what "tradition" is represented in what the OP espouses. But, good to see that the Moderators recognize that it is indeed not Zen Buddhism nor any of its practices.

Thanks again.

Wishing you a good MLK and Civil Rights Day holiday coming on Monday.

--Joe

Nonin wrote:Joe,

This thread has been rightfully moved to the Other Traditions area of the Board. Hopefully the original poster will hereafter post in this section of the Board.
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Re: The physical effects of meditation.

Postby Michaeljc on Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:38 pm

Its unfortunate that the discussion got so far off-topic. I do have a personal interest in the relationship between zazen and the physical state

I am very receptive to the idea that physical changes take place in the brain. Should this be the case it is obviously very much part of Zen Buddhist practice. Before knocking the concept one should at least study the paper. It may even help teachers to better understand Zen Sickness.

Not that I care which heading it is under

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