Saturday, December 02, 2006

Wearing Yourself Out in Vain

"As for walking around stupas, the stupa is your body and mind. When your awareness circles your body and mind without stopping, this is called walking around a stupa. The sages of long ago followed this path to nirvana. But people today don't understand what this means. Instead of looking inside they insist on looking outside. They use their material bodies to walk around material stupas. And they keep at it day and night, wearing themselves out in vain and coming no closer to their real self."
- Bodhidharma, 515 CE

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, p. 101. Translated and with an Introduction by Red Pine.

One of many stories told about Bodhidharma, the first Zen Patriarch in China and the legendary founder of Shaolin qigong and gungfu, is that he spent seven years in seated meditation while facing a stone wall. Talk about wearing yourself out in vain!

The only thing that would "wear out" while walking around a stupa, or a mountain, or a bagua circle, or a lake, or a soccer field would be one's shoes. Thankfully, the Bodhidharma finally Woke Up after his seven years of staring at a blank wall, and resolved that all Shaolin monks thereafter would be required to exercise, garden, and move about much more.

Walking the Circle: Ba Gua Zhan

Walking Meditation: Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Resources

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