Mirror of Zen Blog

Back at Synthesis Center, Athens


Of the many, many traditions and technologies passed down directly to us by Zen Master Seung Sahn, one of the most precious is the tradition of lighting a stick of incense and bowing three times to the Buddha when you return (to the Zen Center, to your home altar) after some absence.

Putting forehead to floor. Head lowered in intimacy with ground. Knees supporting on a bear surface or mat. Palms gently turned upwards, raised mindfully to half-ear. Feet flattened on their tops. Palms brought together. Wordless Now.

It is not “worship”, but gratitude — to the One who showed “waking up” (Buddha), to the technologies that enable “waking up” (Dharma), to the family/home which actualizes “waking up” (Sangha). The Three Jewels are manifested powerfully, silently, in three full breaths of fluid movement.

Palms together, standing half bow at the waist; full bow to the ground; Full bow to the ground; full bow to the ground, had raised 2 cm, and that precious mini-lotus offered with palms together on the floor, then forehead back down to the ground; standing up in a breath, and a capping half bow from the waist.

The humility you feel, as you bend into that last standing bow, is inexpressible.