The limits of ‘just sitting’

When the relentless practice of “just sitting” reaches its limits in self-power, then the working of Other Power comes alive


From Taitetsu Unno, River of Fire, River of Water, p. 51-52:

“In spite of different vocabularies, self-power and Other Power working together is also the foundation of Zen. […]

The relentless practice of “just sitting” (shikan taza) undertaken by the small self, the foolish self, sooner or later reaches its limits in self-power. When this occurs, then, the awareness of a deeper “immeasurable natural life” comes alive. This is none other than the great compassion of Buddha that supports the sitting practice of the Zen student. […]

The functioning that comes from the Buddha is none other than the working of Other Power.”

The full title of Taitetsu Unno’s book is River of Fire, River of Water. An Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin Buddhism (1998)