Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gudo Nishijima Doing Zazen

I visited my Zen teacher Gudo Nishijima at his new place in Tokyo yesterday. It was around 2 pm when I arrived, and he was just starting to practice zazen. When he told me he was going to be doing some zazen, I asked if I could video him for part of it. He said okay, so I got out my camera and started recording.

Here's the video. It lasts about 8 minutes.

It was a very hot day, and there was no air conditioner in the room. He opened the window to cool the place down a bit. I think the heat was making him feel a bit sleepy, but he kept sitting anyway. His new apartment is very near one of the train stations on Tokyo's Yamanote line. It's a busy line with lots of trains going back and forth. The trains and station announcements got a bit noisy sometimes, but it was alright.

He kept sitting after I stopped recording. I wanted to do some zazen too, but I couldn't see another zafu there. So I folded up a jacket I had in my bag and did zazen on that until he finished.

After zazen we had a cup of tea and a chat. A few people have asked me if he was okay after his recent house move. He's 89 now, and not as mobile as he used to be. And if you watch the video you'll notice that he hasn't completely recovered from a back injury he suffered a few years ago when he fell at his zazen dojo. When I asked how he was feeling, though, he said he was alright, although he noticed he was getting older day by day. While we were chatting he mentioned he gave a lecture last Saturday to some of his Japanese students in Tokyo. Overall he seemed to be doing pretty well.

I left at about 4:30. He told me the telephone company were due to come to his apartment later on to help set up his computer for email and the internet. He sounded like he was looking forward to getting his blog and email going again.

Hope you enjoy the video.

All the best,