Zazen with the Yakuza


It had been awhile since I went to the ZaZen session with Yoh Sensei. Partly because I have been busy, and party because I had not wanted to. The sessions are not really interesting, unlike my Chan sessions, where there is something more than just sitting, even though doing Zazen is about just sitting. A paradox of sorts. In Chan we share experiences, do some Chi Gong ( breathing drills ), sometimes listen to words from the master. On this Japanese Zen session we just sit. In Fairness that is just what it is about. What I am getting at is, with my Chan session there is a balancing of mind and body, with Japanese Zen it is all Mind. In Chan we do some Chi Gong type drills before sitting. Then whilst sitting we focus on our Chakras. In Zen we just sit. Sometimes the Sensei will come and whack you with a stick, if requested. There is a walk break after the second set of sitting. We walk on a circle. There is a bit of discussion after sitting. Everyone introduces themselves and then there is some chatting. Not about Zen , just about whatever. Since my Japanese is so poor, I dislike the intro part.

Sensei and I arrived just ahead of starting time , there was already a car there with someone waiting to start. It was a little weird, as in really different seeing the temple ground in the day light , or sort of daylight. It was nice I grabbed few shots with my smart phone. Nothing really cool since there was no light to add contrast to the view.
Our sessions started. I was somewhat concerned about how my knees where going to hold up, as they have been hurting more as of late. They turned out not to be an issue…for the most part. Just the standard aches and pains from sitting. I really had to focus on my Tan Tien a few time to over come the discomfort a few times. Over all besides the heat it was ok. Even the mosquitoes stayed at bay due to the coils being used. Yokatta.
After the sitting we went to the tea room. Where the temple head monk greeted us and had tea and snacks waiting. He is a very nice man, I like him. We had some edamami cream and mochi dish made by his mother and some cold tea. 
The week or so before when I was at the Aoki Yacht school helping with a sailing event. Sensei told me there was a new guy at the Zen sessions who was a Yakuza member. The man did not come out and say that though. Sensei figured it out from him saying he had learned some Zazen on his own at a certain city location. This location has a well-known large prison. So from his conversation with him he figured out this guy was an imprisoned Yakuza member.

When I was going into the tea room, there were several guys who acted different from the others. Not in a bad way, I could tell they knew each other and had some kind of relationship. I sat next to what seemed like the head guy of this group. He was polite, gave me tea first, before himself but had a serious vibe about him. I noticed that during the introductions almost everyone said what they did or do, he and his companions, just said their names. To myself I just said hmmmm.
On the ride home sensei and I spoke some aboit it, with humour. Sensei said it was his first experience having Yakuza in his Zazen sessions. I said yeah, I guess staying balanced is important in their world as well. Like old Samurai needed that also.

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