During those long and joyous mornings in Japan, reading, meditation and yoga absorbed all my interest, to the point that the rest of my day became a formality to meet. Gradually and without realizing it, I was becoming an ascetic monk.

One of the visitors with whom I spent a weekend in Kyoto is a renowned Galician scientist I met during his sabbatical at Nagoya University. In addition to nationality and profession, we shared the same degree of spirituality, he from a Catholic perspective and I from a Buddhist, but both with equal degree of depth and openness.

In Kyoto, besides visiting the architectural wonders, we attended a conference at Otanji University (incidentally, where D.T. Suzuki carried out much of his work), but, above all, we went to meditate to a small monastery, the remnant of the great “Antaiji” after it was moved from Kyoto to a distant mountain on the north coast of Japan. All the practical knowledge my friend had on meditation was what I had passed him the previous night in the “ryokan” (traditional Japanese hotel).

At the monastery, we sat for four periods of fifty minutes, interspersed by ten minutes of walking meditation, a truly demanding first-experience. When we finished, and while we were sipping green tea, he described the experience with a plain, “good, good,” quite unrevealing, even more coming from a Galician (well-known for their vagueness). I asked him about the discomfort, the sore legs and the insects (some green pentagon-shaped bugs that fly straight to crash loudly against the walls of paper or the meditators, that had been bothering all day long). His reply was, “What bugs?” I couldn’t believe it, he hadn’t noticed the insects or the leg pain!

When full of curiosity I asked him about his method of meditation, he replied, “I just recited all the time ‘My Lord, my beloved’.”

In a very intuitive way, he managed to focus his attention by reciting a “Catholic mantra.” A true lesson.

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