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The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...

Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
[FN#263] A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to ha...

The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch ...

The Establishment Of The Rin Zai School Of Zen In Japan
[FN#67] The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a pr...

Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

The Law Of Balance In Life
It is also the case with human affairs. Social positions hig...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put a...

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...

Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga[FN#250] claims that various supernatural powers can be a...

The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...

Enlightened Consciousness
In addition to these considerations, which mainly depend on i...

The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Ja...

Calmness Of Mind
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical...

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

Zen Is Not Nihilistic
Zen judged from ancient Zen masters' aphorisms may seem, at t...

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...

All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...




The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi








Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somewhat
similar in its method and end to those of Zen. We quote here[FN#247]
Yogi Ramacharaka to show how modern Yogis practise it: (1) Stand or
sit erect. Breathing through the nostrils, inhale steadily, first
filling the lower part of the lungs, which is accomplished by
bringing into play the diaphragm, which, descending, exerts a gentle
pressure on the abdominal organs, pushing forward the front walls of
the abdomen. Then fill the middle part of the lungs, pushing out the
lower ribs, breastbone, and chest. Then fill the higher portion of
the lungs, protruding the upper chest, thus lifting the chest,
including the upper six or seven pairs of ribs. In the final
movement the lower part of the abdomen will be slightly drawn in,
which movement gives the lungs a support, and also helps to fill the
highest part of the lungs. At the first reading it may appear that
this breath consists of three distinct movements. This, however, is
not the correct idea. The inhalation is continuous, the entire chest
cavity from the lower diaphragm to the highest point of the chest in
the region of the collar-bone being expanded with a uniform movement.
Avoid a jerking series of inhalations, and strive to attain a
steady, continuous action. Practice will soon overcome the tendency
to divide the inhalation into three movements, and will result in a
uniform continuous breath. You will be able to complete the
inhalation in a couple of seconds after a little practice. (2)
Retain the breath a few seconds. (3) Exhale quite slowly, holding
the chest in a firm position, and drawing the abdomen in a little and
lifting it upward slowly as the air leaves the lungs. When the air
is entirely exhaled, relax the chest and abdomen. A little practice
will render this part of exercise easy, and the movement once
acquired will be afterwards performed almost automatically.


[FN#247] Hatha Yoga, pp. 112, 113.






Next: Calmness Of Mind

Previous: Zazen Or The Sitting In Meditation



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