For some time now, Dean Richard Collins has been leading an informal Zen sitting group on campus, meeting once a week at noon for about 45 minutes in the White Gallery (Fine Arts 201, aka the “stilt building” on the other side of the flagpole from the library).
Beginning Tuesday, April 5th, Dean Collins will begin a sitting group for the spring term. During the first meeting, he will provide a brief introduction to zazen (seated concentration or shikantaza) and explain the many benefits of this practice. You don’t need to bring anything. Zafus (sitting cushions) will be provided, as well as chairs for those unable to sit on the floor.
An opportunity to “just sit” might not seem like such a great offer to those of us who spend a lot of time at our desks. The problem is we don't “just sit” at our desks. We plan, rue, snack, surf, strategize, cogitate, and perform a thousand other mental acts. (Buddhists call the mind the sixth sense, one of the “bandits” of our time and energy.) Zazen allows the mind, especially the thinking brain, to cool down in a posture of dignified silence and inaction for a brief time that some find more energizing than a nap.
Everyone is welcome to join the sitting group and there are no fees for the sessions.
Visit The Zen Fellowship of Bakersfield to find out more about the practice of "sitting". The center also provides Zen meditation on Saturday mornings at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
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