Chapter Six, the entry from Eido Shimano Roshi, is rather short and, in my opinion, rather slight, so my comments will also be short – and most likely slight as well.
In his opening sentence, it’s rather clear that by joining “Yoga” and “sports” as things the Buddha was trained in, along with the presumption that having studied yoga and sport, the Buddha was “very fit,” that Eido is thinking of Yoga as physical training. If I could, I’d tell Eido that everytime he trains a student in zazen, he is teaching Yoga!
Where I have complete agreement with Eido Roshi, is in his assertion that “the body is indispensable as the mind for finding ultimate liberation.” In fact, I often quote Georg Feuerstein, who said that enlightenment is a full-body experience.
As a long-time student of Zen, I appreciate Eido Roshi’s discussion of soji (cleaning). Since the baby’s arrival, I’ve found that I’ve more opportunity to practice while cleaning (laundry, dishes, diapers etc) and it has been truly a very nourishing practice. When fully immersed in this practice of cleaning, mind becomes still, at one with action. Action seems still, even in movement, as mind has ceased to run commentary.
As I teach in Body of Peace, when body, breath and mind are fully and completely aligned and relaxed into action, the true body is seen to be the 10,000 things. As Eido, quoting Dogen puts it:
"The entire world in the ten directions is nothing but the true human body."
For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I hope yours is truly a time of reflection on the myriad gifts we receive daily. As the November Daily Practice of Naikan allows us to see, we benefit from countless, innumerable beings constantly. And to all of you, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your practice, for your desire and commitment to awaken for the sake of a more loving and joy-filled world.