A. Let me ask you back. Have you ever died, or been dead so far? If not, how can you say that you feel dead when you have no experience of how the dead feel? Do you think that the dead can feel? Feeling dead is a kind of illusion. You are practising in the wrong way. You are meddling with illusions or being deluded by them during the time that you think you are spending practising Zen. Your state is referred to as ‘fallen into darkness’, or ‘fallen into the den of fox’ and Zen practitioners are likely to fall into it.
Zen meditation is not just sitting without thinking. Such a problem as this comes to you when you try to remain without thinking. Zen meditation is to focus all your attention on an ultimate question, called a koan, such as ‘What am I when my body is not me?’. When all your attention is concentrated on the question, such a thought can’t occur. When you feel dead again, just ask yourself what it is that feels dead?
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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