Category: Zen

Hakuin Ekaku: Brushtrokes of Zen

What is the sound of one hand clapping? You’ve likely heard this enigmatic riddle before, but probably aren’t as familiar with the man behind the words. The Japanese Zen master Hakuin Ekaku, who is credited with that famous koan, is a man whose teachings, art, and influence resonate deeply, even today.  Hakuin’s life, legends, and profound… Read more »

What is Buddhist New Year?

Buddhist New Year is a time of reflection, renewal, and celebration. This auspicious holiday is a reminder of the impermanence of all things and an occasion to make a fresh start. It encourages us to release attachments to the past and embrace the present moment with open hearts and clear minds. In Japan, the new… Read more »

The Dharma of Scrooge

The story of the miserly, old Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has enchanted readers for nearly two centuries. Tucked into the holiday story are lessons on generosity, redemption, and greed. Though the story centers on the Christmas holiday, it has become popular to interpret it through a Buddhist lens. We can call… Read more »

Meditation in Winter: Embrace the Cold

As the winter arrives with gusts, sleet, and flurries, greet it as a fresh opportunity to engage with your practice. Meditation often forces us to grapple with our discomfort, both mental and physical. The cold does the same — but it takes a conscious effort to appreciate. Winter meditation gives you the opportunity to push… Read more »

The Bodhisattva Jizo: A Guide For The Weary

Small stone statues dot the Japanese countryside. You will see them along roadways and trails; they appear tucked away in small shrines. They show up in manga (Japanese comic books) and popular films like My Neighbor Totoro. The diminutive bald figure, often rendered with baby-like features is comforting, cute even. This is Jizo, a Buddhist… Read more »

The Ornate History of the Rin Bell

The history of the rin bell is deeply intertwined with meditation practice. During meditation, everything around you is involved in the experience – from your meditation cushion to your surroundings. Indeed, silence itself is an integral part of the meditation experience, but sound is as well. The rin bell acts as a stark counterbalance to… Read more »

Who is the Bodhisattva Kuan-Yin?

In the pantheon of Buddhist deities, the bodhisattva Kuan-Yin (also Guan-Yin, Guan-Yim, Kuan-Yim, Kwan-im, and in Sanskrit, Avalokiteshvara) occupies a special position of honor and affection. This is especially true in the lay Buddhism of China, Japan, and to a lesser extent Vietnam.  The Goddess of Compassion, Mercy & Kindness The reason for Kuan-Yin’s popularity is… Read more »

Thoughts from Still Sitting During this Crisis

We are Here for You We are here for you at Still Sitting. We are committed to safely continuing to support our customers with meditation supplies. But the truth is you don’t really need new meditation cushions right now. We believe that everyone already has what they need to face our new uncertain reality. Uncertainty,… Read more »

The Making of a Rakusu

Many weeks in our Vashon Island workshop, Lidunn handcrafts beautiful rakusu. In this case from a few years back, she re-purposed a Japanese obi into a custom rakusu for a customer. A shortened version of Buddha’s robe, the rakusu is a symbolic garment worn by Buddhist practitioners. Its form has evolved over centuries, incorporating elements… Read more »

The Sleepy Sit: Staying Awake While Meditating

Staying Awake While Meditating When we lived at the Mt Baldy Zen Center we began our day at 4 a.m. with a pucker-inducing dose of hot lemon tea, followed by almost an hour of chanting. Both tea and chanting helped keep everyone awake while meditating. Monks and nuns of all types get up before dawn… Read more »