Monday, June 8, 2009


"Yaza" number 69 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

Today, it is  back to work after a three day silent Zen Mediation retreat with my friends from the Spokane Zen Center. Retreats have a different flavor from a sesshin. I prefer the atmosphere of a full on serious sesshin. Some of the retreats I've been on have been a bit too casual with more talking and distracting activities that necessary.

...I was going to say something here that was now to kind about my experience at the end of the retreat but instead, I'll self edit and spare everyone that mess. One powerful experience I had on retreat was the sense that the whole sitting, walking, surta reciting, eating and work practice cycle was completely and utterly routine. If felt so natural. Like there was nothing else to do nor had I been doing anything else my whole life. This was utterly not special and as ordinary as ordinary can be.

Yaza is 'extra' sitting usually done at night or very very early in the morning. This was the first retreat that yaza was not encouraged. Not that it was discouraged, it was just not spoken about. We all must be getting old.

This has been too self reflective. No one is at all interest in what I think. That includes me. So why do it? Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.


  1. I like the self reflective posts and enjoy hearing what you think. Is Yaza the same as Waza?

  2. Jordon, I've never heard of waza. Look it up on the internets, I found that waza is a martial arts term meaning "techniques" or "tactics". Do you use it in a different context?

    Yaza is something different. It was explained to me that yaza is the tradition of sitting though the night on the last night of a sesshin.

    Thanks for your encouragement. I have to say that I do enjoy hearing about antics of your daughters as they sit and non-sit with you.

  3. Definitely a tactic, usually employed as sitting though the night, but not necessarily on the last night of a session. Something done by trainees in Rinzai monk factories.

    Glad to lend some encouragement, thanks for yours!