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I have a friend who wants to start practicing and start sitting. He has a lot of physical compromises from cancer treatment which includes very large tremors so he cant sit very well but he wants to. So I was wondering if Roshi has any hot tips for ways that you can help someone who is very sincere but has an extreme physical challenge with regards to being able to sit its a byproduct of the fact that he is still alive but he wants to sit. I cant figure how to help him start sitting.

Sitting is a very small part of zazen.  We have the words: sitting, standing, and walking.  Whether we are moving or sitting, our mind being quiet – the settled mind – is zazen.  To be able to not be moved around in any situation or any activity, but to have your mind in a settled place, no matter how your body is in movement, in action or in whatever it is doing, is what zazen is.  So, it’s a convenient way to do zazen when it is done sitting down, but it is not the necessary way. 

Whatever activity, whether it is dancing, walking, or any way of being that would help that person know that state of mind that is not moved around, would be a way to help them enter zazen.  It is to be thought of like sitting down on a train seat and watching the scenery go by the window.  When our train seat is stable and not moving around, which is our mind not being moved around by the situations we are in, then we can look very easily and comfortably at all of the scenery going by.  We don’t get caught on it and we don’t get moved around by it; the scenery just goes by the window. 

In the same way, if our state of mind through practicing zazen, in whatever way it is available to us, is deepened by learning to be unmoved – no matter in what situation we are in – then it doesn’t matter what the activity we learned that in, because we are able to transfer that to and be that way in every situation.  So, that’s how to help someone like that with zazen.

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