Friday, April 17, 2020

Zen practice in an era of epidemic

Were Zen Buddhism a come-to-Jesus persuasion, you might think Zennies would be dancing in the aisles with all the stay-at-home disciplines being imposed by the corona19 epidemic. People are staying at home, the TV constantly reminds us in glowing wonder. Life boils down to this life and Zen Buddhism prescribes a still and seated discipline as a means of addressing it.

But it is one thing to sit still at my own behest and quite another to have it imposed from the outside, so to speak.

When someone tells me to bunker in place, what's the first thing I want to do? Well, run around and wave my arms for example. Tell me to sit still and all I want to do is move. Zennies may sit still of their own accord but be adamant about moving when someone else imposes the sit-still rule. The virus imposes Zen practices ... get me out of here! Forty or fifty years of self-imposed stillness collapses when the outside world orders what amounts to a Zen practice.

I'm trying to draw some parallel but am not exactly sure what it is.


  1. Cabin Fever is a bitch, for sure.

    I am grateful for my Zen Training.

    There is much information available for dealing with restlessness. You might want to avail yourself.

  2. I struggle with sitting still when forced to. I shake my legs, I scratch my crotch, I just have difficulty with sitting still when made to. Yet, when voluntary, I do zazen happily.