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Go for the root...
Harada Roshi


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Born with a progressive lung disease I can't breathe deeply nowadays and can't go through meditation without coughing periods. This makes me sometimes both sad and angry but I continue at home being concerned about molesting groups in their silence. Is this deficiency in practice all right and do you recommend me to go on?


If anyone then it should be you who should practice zazen and study the breath. Zazen is a breathing exercise. We can learn this way of breathing developed by the Buddha. When you breathe deeply you need to cough, and coughing is not good for your lungs. You need to breathe with your tanden then the pressure on your lungs becomes less. When trying to inhale and you cannot, then that is difficult. Do not use any force, open your throat wide and try to exhale as long as you can. At the beginning it might be difficult, yet by staying with the practice, you can exhale each time a little bit more. Do not get scared and give up. Exhale as if you want to blow out a candle which is 30cm - 50cm away from you. First you can see the flame only move, but finally you will be able to blow out the flame itself. If you say that you cannot practice because of your lung condition and the coughing, your condition might even become worse. Please keep making efforts.


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