Nothingness (Mu) 無

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I started Zen meditation in February this year.  For a long time I had been longing to learn how to meditate.  I didn’t want to just do it myself in my own way, I wanted to actually learn the proper way and the philosophy behind it.  There are so many types of meditation and I had no idea which one was suited for me.

I have a serious issue that I have been struggling with for so long.  While performing music, some totally idiotic thought-like thing suddenly pops into my head, or some cloud of anxiety or fear, all of a sudden, instantly blackens my mind, or…. whatever…., if I let it then my concentration cracks, that’s the moment I screw up the performance big time…..

“Why does this happen to me so often?

I have not practiced enough? ….probably.

Am I overly self conscious? …..possible.

What is it that pokes up into my head and disturbs my concentration?

Is it something to do with my ego?

What is ego anyway?

I’m not trying to make myself look good or anything.  At least I’m not conscious about it….. How do I get rid of my ego?”

Then, one day a thought came to me.  Perhaps I should study the concept of “emptiness” or “nothingness” in Buddhism.  Buddhist meditation might help me get rid of this horrible ego.  So, I went online to search, and found “Northshore Zendo”.

It was the first Monday of February, a sunny white morning after an overnight of heavy snow.  Everything was frozen and sparkling.  When I arrived at the Zendo at the top of the mountain in North Vancouver, a tall skinny caucasian man in his late 50s was shovelling the snow. He was the priest Hoben.  For two hours I listened to him, feeling like my whole body had turned into ears.  I listened about some philosophy of Zen, basic style of Zen meditation, how to sit, breathe, get grounded….

It was, indeed, an eye opening experience.  You know…I was born in Japan, and all my relatives except my parents were Buddhist. I don’t know why I had never developed any interest in Buddhism or Zen.  Very odd.  However, what Hoben said sounded so natural, so logical, and so practical to me. Very interesting too.  I felt super excited and happy.

Hoben said that the Japanese society, its culture and values, are greatly influenced by Zen.  It is not overstating to say that Zen philosophy lies in the basis of everything in Japan.  He said that being born as a Japanese person is an incredibly fortunate thing.

I have never thought that way before, but felt very pleased.  Of course, I don’t know enough to say, but I do sincerely hope that Zen can co-exist in myself with my Christian faith.

So now….. I sit, meditate, and chant.













Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

One thought on “Nothingness (Mu) 無

  1. Thanks, Haruyo, for this reflection. You are a beautiful writer – thoughtful, emotional, reflective. I’m glad you have found Zen meditation, and that Hoben told you that it was fortunate that you were born as a Japanese person. Does it make you feel good? I hope so.

    I wonder if we could find a convenient time to meet for tea some time. You could let me know in an email.

    With affection, Ginger From: pocoapocowithsmile Reply-To: pocoapocowithsmile Date: Friday, September 1, 2017 at 7:14 PM To: Ginger Shaw Subject: [New post] Nothingness (Mu) 無

    WordPress.com Haruyo Abramson posted: “I started Zen meditation in February this year. For a long time I had been longing to learn how to meditate. I didn’t want to just do it myself in my own way, I wanted to actually learn the proper way and the philosophy behind it. There are so many typ”


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