“Shugyō is a tricky word to define. At a basic level, it is a mental and physical discipline one undertakes for the sake of self-cultivation”
– Jk mann
Self-cultivation. Is there really any other reason to practice? Not self-improvement. Self-cultivation, the practice of simply being, and growing, is like when we cultivate crops, cultivate students, cultivate relationships, cultivate patience.
On the mat, a sense of calmness and flow occurs when we practice with the intent of self-cultivation. This is because there is no goal in cultivation – only being. Being with the growth that is intrinsic, and not extrinsic. Being with the moment that is pure and present, for all growth and cultivation goes through the present. Being, not doing.
You can’t do cultivation, you are cultivation. It is in the patience and awareness of simple being, simple, endless change, that manifests shugyō.
Shugyō is non-attachement, keeping one point at the hara, flowing ki, relaxed with our body weigh fully extended in all directions, an infinite awareness temporally as well as spatially.
Shugyō is without desire, without fear, without greed or expectation. It is the infinite awareness.
“With interest and investigation there’s wisdom. Effort alone, without wisdom—the way people generally understand it—is associated with strained activity because it is usually motivated by greed, aversion, and delusion. Effort with wisdom is a healthy desire to know and understand whatever arises, without any preference for the outcome.”
– Sayadaw U Tejaniya, “The Wise Invesigator”
Shugyō cares not for the outcome, for we are what we are. Shugyō is effortless for it is what we essentially are, once the fullest of illusions is subsumed. Shugyō is infinite for all is emptiness – all is infinite.
Shugyō is not learnt, for it is present. Shugyō is not mastered, for we already master our own spirit, when expressed.
Shugyō is silence.
Shugyō is pure presence, basking within the flow of ki ofthe universe.
Shugyō is just being.
Practice on and off the mat accordingly.
“Awareness cannot be taught. Awareness simply throws light on what is, without any separation whatsoever. Activity does not destroy it and sitting does not create it.
It is there, uncreated, freely functioning in wisdom and love, when self-centered conditioning is clearly revealed, in the light of understanding.
When the changing states of body-mind are simply left to themselves without any choice or judgment, a new quietness emerges by itself.
This new mind that is no-mind is free of duality—there is no doer in it and nothing to be done.”