Does everyone need to sit, even zen masters, especially according to Soto zen? Or are certain highly accomplished meditators incapable of experiencing scattered thoughts?

2 Answers 2


When you don't have "scattered thoughts" whenever you are doing something, you're doing it fully immersed. Everybody has had periods of absolute involvement.

Obviously everybody has thoughts, it's just a matter of Distance from them.

As a matter of tradition and to set an example to everyone, everybody sits. I think even the founder Dōgen Zenji, sat till the very end. I'd even go so far as to say, if some people sit and some don't need to, then there's something wrong with the tradition and has some biases.

Also some accomplished masters just sit peacefully/blissfully. Let's say you have mastered a good amount of distance between yourself and thoughts, you will be able to sit peacefully. And that would be a pleasure (not the material pleasure, just bliss). Hence you would just sit naturally. I hope I made myself clear.

  • Meditated morning and evening daily half hour to an hour or more for over a decade. Change in circumstances and simultaneous change of view. Now sitting feels like just waiting with time passing, so I don't.
    – user2341
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 2:23
  • not a terrible answer, but you didn't address the question, really, but its opposite (do accomplished zen masters ever not have scattered thoughts)
    – user2512
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 6:20
  • oops i missed the sentence beginning "I'd even go so far...". absolutely agree, thanks
    – user2512
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 7:21
  • I don't understand the sentence which ends, "then there's something wrong with it" ... something wrong with what, and why?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 8:56
  • 1
    Something wrong with the tradition. There should be no room for bias like some people need not sit and some need to. Unless of course they have other activities to do in which case it cannot be helped.
    – esh
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 8:59

In Soto Zen we don't sit to accomplish any end or fulfill any need, we sit (and do the rest of our practice) because it's the realisation (i.e. making real) of our Budda Nature.

  • @user3293056 I think your question implies that people need to sit in order to cure scattered thoughts, and asks whether accomplished meditators don't need to sit because their thoughts aren't scattered.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 14:12
  • You have Buddha Nature. When you sit or practice in any other way your Buddha Nature is expressed in reality, you are realising (making real) your Buddha Nature.
    – user10515
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 18:35
  • @GavinSerra sorry for my comments, which i have now deleted. i was being precious. i understand that is doctrine, yes.
    – user2512
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 23:52
  • It's ok, I was being sententious :)
    – user10515
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 3:39

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