< Back to Question and Answer
Is partial or all night yaza meant to fill this gap and bring awareness even to hours of bodily rest? Do you know of any zenadept who are or were able to remain aware 24-7 even in deep sleep?
July 10, 2013, 7:13 am
During the time of the Buddha, zazen would start around 6pm. During the day it was so hot and impossible to sleep. The time until 10pm was called "Shoya", the best time to let your zazen ripen. From 10pm until 2am it was called "Chuya", during which time also the Buddha when tired would do Kinhin. From 2am until 6am it was called "Goya" during which time one would do study to gather one´s mind again. So it was not only sitting zazen that was practised. Doing kinhin, reading sutras. At 6am Takuhatsu would start, and upon return, all monks would eat together. After that time the Buddha would rest a little, it is said. When looking at the weather in India, this is quite a natural schedule for them. Yet in Northern countries, to be sitting until noon and resting at night is more natural. The reason we sit Yaza is to use this time free of the rules of the zazen, where everyone has to follow the same guidelines in order to sharpen and deepen as a group. Yet it is not so easy to enter samadhi, having the clappers, the bells, kinhin and the keisaku as outer obstructions. To have some time free from these obstructions, for that we have yaza. And not having gathered enough energy during the day, we continue to sit at night. Yamamoto Genpo Roshi said: When you are awake to be awake. When you are sleeping, to simply sleep.