Flash of Samadhi
Sound of the vending machine
A deafening roar

These days, although I only get the chance to sit full lotus mornings and evenings, I sit every moment I can create an opportunity. This usually happens to be on my office chair.
This afternoon during the lunch break I went deep; only to be startled out of it by my ears being filled (and I mean seemingly irrationally, and somewhat unexplainably filled) with the ordinary hum of the vending machine across the hall.
This was kind of a buzz kill.
I know that that probably comes off as an attachment to some mental state.
Maybe so.
But the development and cultivation of Samadhi seems important to me right now.
I kind of think it has been underrated in the popular Buddhish press lately.

Yours in practice,


Brikoleur said...

I'm sort of knocking on the door of the first samadhi, and I am actively trying to cultivate it. There are times I think I get to the edges—mental chatter quiets down, my focus stays on the practice, and I get a nice, peaceful feeling.

I figure that samadhi is the basis—if you don't have the concentrational ability to reach any of them, you're going to have a very hard time working on insight practices either, and probably just end up sitting on a tuffet being bored, which, I think, isn't the point.

And yeah, I'll worry about getting hooked on it when I can consistently get there. (Also, I figure that if you have to get hooked on something, you can do a lot worse than samadhi.)

It's nice to compare notes. There ought to be more of it, I think.

Scott Xian-Liao said...

I have found it helpful in a noisy situation to just see/hear the noise without attachment. There is no barrier between inside mind and outside mind. Just as you observe the rising and falling of thoughts, you can observe the rising and falling of noise. When you expand your consciousness in this way, you cannot be startled by what you already know :)

With Metta


jundo cohen said...

Hi Jordan,

If you are trying to cultivate a concentrated start of Samadhi and Jyana, that's fine.

But you know what I will say as to Shikantaza: Just sit radically with what is, such that all judgment and separation between you and the coke machine softens or drops away.

In any case ... Cokeis the Real Thing!

Gassho, Jundo

Mumon K said...

There's ways to cultivate samadhi, but if you get brought out of it by the realities of life, Jundo's not only on point here, but he is pointing to the naked truth: the startled response and coke-can brouhaha is your practice.

Then you resume...

Eventually this practice needs to be carried into loud, chaotic places anyway.

SlowZen said...

Hi Petteri,
Thanks for stopping in. I don't know so much about levels of samadhi, but I think I get your gist.

Samadhi is most certainly the basis, or more correctly the equal partner of prajna, or so says the sixth patriarch and all.

I am guessing you are coming from an insight based practice which I find fascinating as I see numerous parallels to what I listen to from insight teachers to what Master Dogen taught.

As for getting hooked on samadhi, I'm sure its a possibility. People get hooked on aerobics and yoga too. I tend to doubt it can be too bad for me. Heck, The whole line of Zen masters from Dogen to Buddha are said to be endlessly enjoying Samadhi.

Yes, Yes, I understand and have practiced with noise very much like that. Also, the Surangama Sutra mentions a technique of turning your hearing inward. This takes a bit of a flip of the mind, but if you can get the hang of it it works out pretty well.

But this isn't really what I was talking about in the post. The routine background noise was there all along, but over the course of my sitting it had dropped off, then came back in a rush which had an unpleasant effect on my concentration. This has happened to me many times before and I am sure it will happen again. This is why we call it practice I suppose.


Hi Jundo,
I am so sorry if I confused you. Going for Jyana is not part of my practice. But if you would like to clear up your confusion about samadhi you can read about it in the Shobogenzo:

Book one:

3, 5, 8, 9, 23, 209, 215, 263, 265, 365, 384, 408–409
-dhāraṇī(s) 205, 215 of receiving and using the self 3, 5, 8,
303, 305–306
Samādhi, the State of a Jewel-Mirror. See Hōkyōzanmai

Book two:

8, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 36, 84, 98, 154, 229, 230, 233, 236, 237, 267, 311, 317, 337

Book Three:

175, 177, 179, 232,
283, 327, 333, 337, 371–74 as the Dharma-nature 171, 172, 173,
174–75 king of 371, 373, 374

Book four:

23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 33, 39, 41, 128, 205, 294, 335, 351, 352
diamond 4, 23 of experiencing the self, of receiving
and using the self 41, 118, 123,
124, 128 śūraṃgama 4, 24

Totally with you on shikantaza! Right on man!

However the carbonated beverage known commonly as Coke is known to rot teeth and make breath stinky, contains large amounts of corn syrup, and is just not fit for human consumption. I recommend it only for cleaning chrome, for which it turns out it's a handy cleaner for.


Ha, your spot on! Now maybe we can get some of that coke to take that spot out....

jundo cohen said...

Hey Jordan,

It is also an interesting question as to what Dogen meant by "Samadhi". Dr. Kim has a dandy take on the subject which you may already be familiar with, from page 55 here to about 67 ... rather different from ideas of Samadhi in some other Buddhist traditions.

Mystical Realist

Gassho, J

SlowZen said...

Hey Jundo,

Dr. Kim is an excellent scholar, and I have really warmed to his writing over the years.  Regrettably, due to my being over here on a weight restricted tour, I was unable to take my copy of Mystical Realist with me and it is sitting in a crate up in Seattle right now.... But as you brought it up, there is another book, I think it is called "Dogen on meditation and thinking", where he records a kind of check list rendering of what was addressed in Mystical Realist and I think it is pretty helpful. (This is typed off my phone so please forgive the omission of links.)  

On the other hand, while my own thoughts are inclusive of what Dr. Kim states regarding samadhi, to say that Dogen is fixed into that one understanding of "Samadhi" is surely an oversight.  What I recommend for anyone who may be interested is a fun little exercise I use at work while researching certain ambiguously written policies.  Thanks to the PDF format's for the Shobogenzo being available, we can now type in a word search for "Samadhi" and observe all the different ways in which Master Dogen uses it throughout the Shobogenzo, and it doesn't take that long at all.  The down side is that someone might come off as smarter than they really are!  I hope I have made no such impression.

Thinking of this, it sure would be helpful if the Eihei Koroku gets digitized as it would make that book much more assessable as well as portable, and Dogens teachings that much more accessible to everyone.

Yours in practice,

Sean said...

Vending machines... If only the Buddha had left us one of those, and Einstein too, perhaps we could be enlightened beings traveling at the speed of light then! Oh tragedy, Enlightenment is not instant though...

...nor is the the continuum of time and space one to "easily" allow us to break the rules known of physics.

In good humor, Gassho, Jordan.

Sean said...

Or can it be instant? I've read of instants of realization.

If it could be instant, can it be held in the hand? Pardon my rambling, pushy questions, I don't know.

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Noself said...

The voices of the Vending machine are the Buddha’s wide and long tongue. It is a constant friend. Its sacred healing presence is profoundly appreciated. Constantly humming intuitive wisdom, it speaks, to a lengthened and widened ear.

Lauren said...


If your thumbs can stand it, I'd like to know what you understand Samadhi to be.

No trap here. I'm truly interested in your direct understanding.

stuartresnick said...

Famous koan: "The entire universe is on fire. Through what samadhi can you escape getting burned?"


SlowZen said...




I visited your blog but I have not chosen to follow at this time.






So would I!

But I think the best way to describe it might be "Boundless."

However I would encourage you to use your own understanding.



When the entire samadhi is on fire, the universe and burning are dropped off.



Yours in practice,

Thanks for looking!