Thus spoke Oki-sensei on Meditation

Oki-sensei gave many lectures on meditation in Japanese. Listening to three of them (1982.05.16, 1983.05.01 and 1983.08.11), I have picked up the following 12 points and translated into English. These points, combined with other topics or examples, were talked in various orders in different lectures. The order of the 12 points below is made from my perspective, as I hope that this order would be helpful to convey Oki-sensei’s philosophy on meditation to the readers. My own words are not inserted anywhere. Still, what to choose and how to translate them must be influenced by my view based on my experience. It has taken more than 30 years for me to come to this stage of sharing Oki-sensei’s words from his lectures in this way. From now on, I would like to continue my work while asking myself for what I am doing it.

1. There are various techniques to enter meditation, which may use sounds, odours, body, mind, or activities in daily life. Each person can choose the most effective technique for his concentration. However, these techniques alone are not meditation.   Two Japanese words 見る and 観る are both pronounced ‘miru’ and these two different characters have a common part 見. However, they have different meanings. The former is to ‘see with physical eyes’ or ‘keep an eye on’. The latter is to ‘grasp rightly’.   Meditation is a discipline that the latter character presents. It is a discipline to grasp things or situations rightly through mind, body and lifestyle. In order to do that, we have to put the highest scientific views and the highest philosophical views together.

2. To grasp things or situations rightly, you must cleanse your body, mind and lifestyle. In yoga, the training method of cleansing the body is called Hatha Yoga. The training method of cleansing the mind is called Raja Yoga. The discipline through activities in daily life is called Karma Yoga.

3. Yoga means ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. With what should we unite ourselves? With God.  Although we use the word ‘God’, almost nobody understands what God really is.

4. Meditation is a discipline for grasping what God is.  Therefore, a discipline other than meditation is not yoga. 
You say you do yoga, but what you do as yoga is not yoga. You do a lot of physical activity, but it’s not yoga. However, without doing it, you can’t enter the meditation discipline. Therefore, it can be also called yoga. For example, you can’t immediately jump into water and start swimming. What you do as yoga is like preparatory exercises before you swim, or else you might be in trouble with a heart attack. Then, can you say that a set of exercises you do before swimming is swimming? You can’t say it is swimming because you’re not swimming, but you can’t swim without it. What everyone does as yoga is like preparatory exercises before swimming.
God is pure. The pure state is also called ‘mu‘. The state of mu is also called Nature. Such a state is also called ‘‘.  It is also known as a blank piece of paper. It is a state of emptiness.

5. The practice of putting yourself in the state of mu is called the discipline of meditation.
However, the word ‘meditation’ is used incorrectly. It is not about thinking quietly or contemplating. The expression ‘to be absorbed in meditation’ is strange.
The Japanese for meditation, meisō, consists of two characters. The first one, mei, means making oneself empty and feeling in a broad and deep way.
When you become pure through such practice, you can be directly connected with God. This state where you and God are connected together is the state of the true self, the selfless state where you are not trapped in yourself.

6. Why do we need to practise this state?
When we see, hear or feel, we do not see, hear or feel in a blank state, that is to say, separate from ourselves. You see, hear or think based on what you have experienced so far. So, even if you see one thing, how you view it depends on what you have experienced so far. This is expressed as ‘wearing tinted glasses’. The state of wearing tinted glasses is called ‘hakarai‘, a judgement with conscious or unconscious preconceptions. What you have acquired so far interferes. 

7. As we live a worldly life, we are made to believe as if what does not exist existed.
We call this education, knowledge or common sense. There are many things which do not exist. For example, country borders. Take an airplane and look below. There are no lines. Humans have arbitrarily drawn the lines from an egocentric standpoint.

8. Feel and think broadly and deeply. When you stand at the point of view of mu, you will come to see the truth.
For example, many people reckon that illness exists. There is no such thing as illness. What you think as illness is merely a symptom.
There is no delinquent or bad person. You can tell that when you see a baby. Are there baby swindlers, or baby delinquents? A baby has nothing bad. We were like that at first. Think about why we have gradually got distracted.
I just said, “There’s no such thing.” This means that there is something. The actual self is life. Life itself. Illness or a bad person is in a state of life that is unnatural. It is a way the life force gives us advice. Only ‘life’ is that which exists. This is expressed in Okido Yoga, ‘Lifeforce is God.’

9. Meditation discipline is a discipline of detachment, or non-attachment.  Detachment may sound like throwing away or giving up, but you don’t need to throw away or give up anything. You can have things.  You have to have. Just don’t bring in any egotism, self-centredness, exclusive self-priority or attachment. All you should do is use things in a way following the heart of God.
The heart of God is love. Love is to live for each other, to take care of each other, and to help each other. To cooperate with each other. To teach each other. There is no special thing named ‘love’. Take care of each other when and how it is needed.

10. We make our own destiny.
Our destiny depends on, and is determined by how we feel, how we view things, how we think and how we act at every moment.
Yoga is the teaching to see God within oneself. ‘Self is God’ is the most eminent characteristic which separates the teaching based on yoga, such as Buddhism or Jainism, from other teachings. This is the essence of yoga.

11. Improve the innate healing ability and enhance the busshō (Buddha Nature) in yourself. There is no other way to be connected to God.

12. The basic discipline to recover our mind-heart from an unnatural state is meditation.
Return everything to the original state. If you come to be able to meditate, you will not need anything, nor will you need any physical or mental treatment. It is difficult. It cannot be done easily. However, it’s good to go even part of the way.
By learning yoga, you can get part of the way there.

21 thoughts on “Thus spoke Oki-sensei on Meditation

  1. Thank you for these meaningful words Tomoko.
    I studied lately Yoga Nidra, Yoga Sutra’s, Kashmir yoga and other yoga orientated materials.
    This is an interesting contribution.
    Many times I realise all different styles of yoga are one, all pointing towards the oneness of all live. Also Oki-sensei did his very valuable effort.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you for your comment, Diana. I hope you are well. #12 the last two sentences – I thought what a warm-hearted message to say!

  2. Thank you Tomoko , it was beautiful to read and think about. You explain the process of preparing for meditation really clearly. …. and meditating itself.
    Yes ….no baby is a swindler!
    Best Tania

  3. Thank you Tomoko
    Nowdays there are too much about yoga and it creates confusion , yoga should be respect without loosing this unity
    I have started to read the Meditation book again , the True Yoga

    Deeply thanks

  4. Namaste Tomoko, I appreciate your continued work to make Okido’s wisdom available to us all. I am writing a program for high schools. Your sharing is very timely. Love Liz

    • Thank you for your comment, Liz. It will be wonderful that this profound and basic wisdom will penetrate many fields in our life. I wish you all the best at your work!

    • Thank you, Peter. It will be great if you share this with people you know. Oki-sensei’s teachings are profound, practical and warm-hearted.

  5. Tomoko-San,
    I enjoyed reading about yoga from a wider perspective not just physical exercises but a journey to recovering ‘mind heart’.

    It would find it helpful if you explain the concept of ‘ Mind Heart’ in this space.

    Many thanks

  6. Thank you Tomoko! It’s so very clear and useful. I appreciate greatly your painstaking, patient and persistent unpicking of the core of Oki Sensei’s fairly inaccessible lectures.
    Thank you again

    • Thank you for your comments, Michael. You have been witnessing my way of doing, which is by 4 words ‘Never finish the work’ (haha). It is not comfortable to me. But it happens like that because layers of thoughts are peeled off while I work and I am not quick to process them. Thank you for your kind responses always.

  7. Good reading thank you Tomoko.Wonder if we met in Mishima? .I was in the Mishima dojo Dec 81 to Feb 82 then again for “life encounter” in spring 83 thanks again Michael Wynne

    • The time matches to the period when I was a resident staff member in Mishima Dojo from 1980 till 1984. Though, I wonder from where you were.

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