「靜坐沒辦法教,但可以學。」

“Meditation can’t be taught, but can be learnt.” – TKV Desikachar

「靜坐沒辦法教,但可以學。」 — TKV Desikachar

教靜坐的老師引用這種話彷彿在自打嘴吧。是的。我真的非常認同 Desikachar 的這句話。別急,慢慢聽我道來。

我自己練習瑜珈,練習靜坐的過程,當然也是歷經好多老師教導、調整、敲頭的過程。有的老師幾乎天天見面,有的老師大概我這一輩子就只有繳錢的那幾天會碰到,有的老師我在網路上按個鍵就又跳出來(像是網路上最有名的「孤狗大神」一樣),有的老師一直在我的 Kindle 裏(庫存量還愈來愈大)。

老師說肩膀放鬆、脖子放鬆。老師要我們往不同方向轉動肩關節,老師要我們輕輕左右或者前後搖搖頭點點頭,老師要我們躺下來後腦勺底下墊個瑜珈磚。老師在我們做不同動作的時候過來輕輕撫著我們肩膀和脖子(或者手腕和腳後跟),老師要我們自己輕輕撫著自己的肩膀和脖子(或者手腕和腳後跟),老師要我們雙手放開想像著自己的手繼續輕輕撫著自己的肩膀和脖子(或者手腕手指頭腳後跟腳趾頭)。

有的同學說不定暫時還有些障礙,像是覺得「這樣一點都不累啊」、「這樣我根本就沒有運動到、沒有暴汗、沒有排毒、沒有肌肉撕裂傷似的快感啊,或者想著,「怎麼都不帶我們觀想七個脈輪紅光橘光靛藍光紫光」、「不是該要 vipaśyanā vipassanā 觀這觀那內觀才是最厲害的啊」。

也有的同學說不定慢慢會進入狀況,自己慢慢找到一條自己熟悉習慣或者有點陌生或者甚至冒險意味濃厚的路,繼續邊玩邊走著,走著走著一不小心還可能會跌跤,有的人會因此而不高興掉頭走人,也有的人會拍拍灰塵或者清清傷口吹著口哨再次上路。

這些反應可能和每個人不同的個性、反應有關,也有可能深一點的結構性因素,像是底下這段描述:

台灣的教育從小到大都在上懶人包,課本為什麼要那樣編,為什麼一定要以那樣的順序來上,老師自己不見得知道,學生也不疑有它。雖然有非常多的老師想辦法讓教學活潑,還想要鼓勵學生的創意,但是只要一遇到段考、會考、基測、指考,就一切都要為考試服務,一切變回「標準答案」。老師一定要照進度教,不可以超過範圍要不然會被抗議。請問有多少比例的學生從小到大曾經在老師的引導下完成過以下的過程?(1) 長出一個發自內心的疑惑;(2) 解構疑竇的元素;(3) 偵測問題的邊界與核心;(4) 發展與收斂議題;(5) 直擊問題的核心,然後再依此 (6) 確立閱讀的方向。 如果學生的閱讀都只是為了父母老師的要求,希望自己成為認真小孩的自我感覺良好,通過考試的壓力,那麼他們永遠都不會出現 「發自內心對知識的渴望與探索的動力」。一旦沒有這樣的動力,就不會有任何「延伸閱讀」與「鑽研」的必要性。 (作者顏聖紘,文章出處

有機會遇上好老師的好引導,真的是非常幸福的事。比較麻煩的是,在好老師出現,開始在引導我們發展自己的理解時,我們是不是準備好了。我們是不是總是習慣拿著過去東拼西湊的「標準答案」去應付、甚至質疑老師?

再換個方向來說吧。以「脈輪」這個詞為例,我們直接的聯想是什麼?我們以為我們已經知道了什麼樣的概念與圖像?我們能不能分辨出地圖和實際街況的差異?我們能不能分辨出字典例句和日常會話的不同?我們能不能反省自己的腦子裝了多少的「標準答案」?當這個老師那個老師以不同的方向引導我們去觀察感受時,我們產生了哪種抗拒的身心反應、我們接受了哪種新的暗示或者訊息、我們的內心冒出哪些疑惑?我們如何將疑惑慢慢整理成可以研究的問題,進而繼續搜尋身體外(的知識)、身體內(的體驗)的可能理解?

前幾天去上了一整天 bodywork 的課程,真的覺得,當學生真快樂。享受老師以自身經驗融會貫通,講解不同架構、演練不同手法;人家十年功,我們一天就聽完精華。可能嗎?如果沒有自己「發自內心對知識的渴望與探索的動力」,就不會有任何「延伸閱讀」與「鑽研」的事情繼續走下去,這樣的話,一天聽到的精華,大概一陣子也就漸漸忘光了吧。

不管是哪一派的手法,不論是使用哪種理論架構,最終,自己的身體、自己的精神狀態,還是得自己去體驗(進而自己去調整)。老師能教的前提是,學生能學。

大顯神通給誰看?

有同學問,「老師,你能不能看到別人頭上或者背後的氣場?」我說,「我沒辦法。」同學又問,「那你能不能讀到別人心裡的事,別人的情緒?」我說,「這我也沒辦法。」

問的同學可能有點失望,也有點同情,安慰我說,「沒關係啦,每個老師專精的事各有不同嘛。」

我想到《長部》《堅固經》《長阿含經》卷十六,或譯《給哇得經》,英譯 Kevatta Sutta)的故事。

有同學建議 the Blessed One 說,如果讓有神通的比丘弘法時,適時秀個幾招、展現一下神通,一定可以招攬到更多的學生,讓他們從別的教室轉到 the Blessed One 的教室來上課。這同學一連建議了三次,the Blessed One 前兩次都只是說,我不會要比丘出去表演神通。(漢譯阿含裡還多了一句 ,「我但教弟子於空閑處靜默思道,若有功德,當自覆藏,若有過失,當自發露。」)到第三次時,佛陀(不知道是不是受不了了)只好仔細解釋箇中奧義。

神通(iddhipāṭihāriya,或譯神變、奇蹟)有三種:「一曰神足,二曰觀察他心,三曰教誡。」(「神通神變、記心神變、教誡神變。」)(”The miracle of psychic power, the miracle of telepathy, and the miracle of instruction.”)

給哇得!什麼是神通神變呢?給哇得!這裡,比丘經驗各種神通:有了一個後變成多個,有了多個後變成一個;現身、隱身;無阻礙地穿牆、穿壘、穿山而行猶如在虛空中;在地中作浮出與潛入猶如在水中;在水上行走不沉沒猶如在地上;以盤腿而坐在空中前進猶如有翅膀的鳥;以手碰觸、撫摸日月這樣大神力、大威力;以身體自在行進直到梵天世界。

給哇得!什麼是記心神變呢?給哇得!這裡,比丘告知其他眾生、其他個人的心,也告知心所有的,也告知被尋思的:「你的意是這樣,你的意是像這樣,你的心是像這樣[狀態]。」

The Blessed One 非常瞭解一般「消費者」的心態,如果他們本來就沒有清楚的信念與認知,即使現展出多麼厲害的神通,也可能馬上讓「消費者」打槍,「那個某某某持個什麼 Manika 還是 Gandhari 咒,也是可以一個人變好幾個人,也是像走過小叮噹的任意門一樣從這裡一下子就變到那裡,或者也會讀出人家的心(羞)。」這些「市場」上的反應,讓 the Blessed One 感到「羞愧、慚愧、厭惡」(”I feel horrified, humiliated, and disgusted with the miracle of telepathy / psychic power”)。

等等,不是還有一種神通嗎?沒錯,市場區隔就在這裡,內行的客人都知道,重點就在這裡。

給哇得!什麼是教誡神變呢?給哇得!這裡,比丘這麼教誡:「你們應該這麼尋思,你們不應該這麼尋思;你們應該這麼作意,你們不應該這麼作意;你們應該捨斷這個,你們應該進入後住於這個。」給哇得!這被稱為教誡神變。

And what is the miracle of instruction? There is the case where a monk gives instruction in this way: “Direct your thought in this way, don’t direct it in that. Attend to things in this way, don’t attend to them in that. Let go of this, enter and remain in that.” This, Kevatta, is called the miracle of instruction.

嗯,說老實話,這樣的文案貼出來之後,想看魔術表演的客人大概遙控器一按就轉台了。

怎麼辦?不怎麼辦啊,人家沒興趣看,人家想轉台,是人家的自由。但是,看過了(看夠了)魔術表演的潛在消費者可能就會稍稍睜大眼睛,準備聽聽看進一步的詳細介紹。(據說衝動型的消費者聽了,說不定就生起出離心,想著「我不宜在家,若在家者,鈎鎖相連,不得清淨修於梵行。我今寧可剃除鬚髮,服三法衣,出家修道,具諸功德。」)

話說回來,讀其他人的情緒可不是輕鬆的事呢,又不是在讀小說看電影。有美國時間想像別人家的故事,不如試試看照照鏡子,或者閉上眼睛休息一下。還有力氣的話,再仔細回味回味這幾句話吧:

Direct your thought in this way, don’t direct it in that.
Attend to things in this way, don’t attend to them in that.
Let go of this, enter and remain in that.

你以為佛法是一種「生活的藝術」嗎?

中譯出處
簡體中文中譯出處

菩提長老

在許多我看過的佛教出版品,覺察到一個幾乎被視為必然的普遍作法,就是把佛教修行從信仰與教理的基礎抽離,移植到其本質由西方人文主義——特别是人道主義心理學和超個人心理學——所界定的一般世俗日常生活。

我想,我們可以看到很多例子,利用內觀禪修當成西方心理治療的附屬品或對等物。實際上,我並不過度擔憂心理學家使用佛教技巧來提升心理的療愈。如果佛教禪修,能幫助人們對自己感覺更好,或者能活得更加醒覺和平靜,這是好事;若心理治療師能將禪修當作心理治療的工具,我祝他們成功!畢竟,「如來並非握拳不教的老師」,我們應該讓他人擷取佛法,有效運用於利樂世間。

我所關切的是,現今教授佛法的普遍趨勢,用大量心理學語詞來改寫佛陀教法的核心義理,之後說這是佛法。然而這樣,我們絕無法從佛教本身的結構,看出佛法的真正目的——並非導致心理上的療愈、完整或自我接受,而是策勵心靈朝向解脫—對治所有造成繫縛與痛苦的心理因素,最後從中解脫。我們應謹記,佛陀並未將佛法教導成「生活的藝術」,雖然它蘊含於內,但佛陀教導的是更超越、無上的「解脱道」——通往終極解脱和覺悟的道路。佛陀所指的覺悟,並非贊揚人類的有限,也不是被動屈服於我們性格的脆弱,而是透過徹底改革,突破至全然不同的境界,來克服這些有限。

這是我發現最能掌握佛法的叙述:在出世間法最高的成就,我們克服所有人類的缺點和脆弱,也包括生命必然死亡這件事。佛道的目標,不僅在於具足正念地生活與死去(當然這是值得成就的),而是超越生死達到完全不死、無可限量的涅槃。這是佛陀追尋覺悟過程中冀求的目標,也由於佛陀成就正覺,使得這目標可在世間實現。這是如法修行的結果,亦是依佛教原架構修學的終點。

然而,當把內觀修行教導成只是一種醒覺的生活方式,在洗碗盤和換尿布時保持覺知與平靜,這目標便失落了。當佛法存在的理由——出世間法被删除時,在我看來,剩下的只是去除菁華、空洞無力的教導,不再是能導向解脫的工具了。正確修行佛法,確實帶來許多現世的快樂。但佛陀終極的教導不只關於現世樂,而是要達到世間滅——這成就並非存在於遙遠的他方世界,而是在這具有感官與意識的六呎之軀中。

Climbing to the Top of the Mountain – An interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi
(Insight Journal, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies Volume 19, Fall 2002)
原始訪談全文

What do you make of the fact that Buddhism is becoming so popular in this country?

It is not difficult to understand why Buddhism should appeal to Americans at this particular juncture of our history. Theistic religions have lost their hold on the minds of many educated Americans, and this has opened up a deep spiritual vacuum that needs to be filled. For many, materialistic values are profoundly unsatisfying, and Buddhism offers a spiritual teaching that fits the bill. It is rational, experiential, practical, and personally verifiable; it brings concrete benefits that can be realized in one’s own life; it propounds lofty ethics and an intellectually cogent philosophy. Also, less auspiciously, it has an exotic air that attracts those fascinated by the mystical and esoteric.

The big question we face is whether and to what extent Buddhism should be refashioned to conform to the particular exigencies imposed by American culture. Throughout history Buddhism has generally adjusted its forms to enable it to adapt to the indigenous cultures and thought-worlds in which it has taken root. Yet beneath these modifications, which allowed it to thrive in different cultural contexts, it has usually remained faithful to its essential insights. This may be the biggest challenge facing Buddhism in America, where the intellectual milieu is so different from anything Buddhism has ever previously encountered that in our haste to effect the necessary adaptations we may be unwittingly diluting or even expurgating principles fundamental to the Dhamma. I believe we need to be very cautious if we are to find a successful middle way between too rigid adherence to traditional Asiatic forms and excessive accommodation to contemporary Western—and specifically American—intellectual, social, and cultural pressures.

It might be counterproductive to attempt to import into America a version of Theravada Buddhism that retains all the customs and mores of Southeast Asia. But I believe it is essential to preserve those principles that lie at the very heart of the Dhamma, and to clearly articulate the proper purpose for which the practice of the Dhamma is undertaken. If we tamper with these, we risk losing the essence along with the extrinsic accretions. In our current situation, I think the main danger is not inflexible adherence to established Buddhist forms, but excessive accommodation to the pressures of the American mind-set. In many of the Buddhist publications I have seen, I have detected signs of a widespread program, regarded almost as obligatory, to extract Buddhist practices from their grounding in Buddhist faith and doctrine and transplant them into a basically secular agenda whose parameters are defined by Western humanism, particularly humanistic and transpersonal psychology.

Can you point to ways this might be happening?

I think we see examples of this in the use of vipassana meditation as an adjunct or companion to Western psychotherapy. Actually, I’m not overly worried about psychologists using Buddhist techniques to promote psychological healing. If Buddhist meditation can help people feel more comfortable about themselves, or to live with greater awareness and equanimity, this is good. If psychotherapists can use Buddhist meditation as a tool of inner healing, I would say more power to them. After all, “the Tathagata does not have the closed fist of a teacher,” and we should let others take from the Dhamma what they can effectively use for beneficial ends.

What I am concerned about is the trend, common among present-day Buddhist teachers, of recasting the core principles of the Buddha’s teachings into largely psychological terms and then saying, “This is Dhamma.” When this is done we may never get to see that the real purpose of the teaching, in its own framework, is not to induce “healing” or “wholeness” or “self-acceptance,” but to propel the mind in the direction of deliverance – and to do so by attenuating, and finally extricating, all those mental factors responsible for our bondage and suffering. We should remember that the Buddha did not teach the Dhamma as an “art of living” – though it includes that – but above all as a path to deliverance, a path to final liberation and enlightenment. And what the Buddha means by enlightenment is not a celebration of the limitations of the human condition, not a passive submission to our frailties, but an overcoming of those limitations by making a radical, revolutionary breakthrough to an altogether different dimension of being.

This is what I find most gripping about the Dhamma: its culmination in a transcendent dimension in which we overcome all the flaws and vulnerabilities of the human condition, including our bondage to death itself. The aim of the Buddhist path is not living and dying with mindfulness (though these are, of course, worthy achievements), but transcending life and death entirely to arrive at the Deathless, at the Immeasurable, at Nirvana. This is the goal the Buddha sought for himself during his own quest for enlightenment, and it is this attainment that his enlightenment made available to the world. This is the end at which the proper practice of Dhamma points, the end for which the practice is undertaken in its original framework.

This end, however, is lost to view when insight meditation is taught as just a way to live mindfully, to wash dishes and change baby’s diapers with awareness and tranquility. When the transcendent dimension of the Dhamma, its very raison d’etre, is expunged, what we are left with is, in my view, an eviscerated, enfeebled version of the teaching that can no longer function as a vehicle to deliverance. Though correctly practiced, the Dhamma does bring abundant happiness within the world, ultimately the teaching is not about living happily in the world but about reaching “the end of the world"—an end that is to be found not in the far regions of outer space but within this fathom-long body with its senses and consciousness.

So you do not think Dhamma is being taught as a path of deliverance?

The impression I get from what I’ve read in contemporary American Buddhist publications is that this aspect of Buddhist practice is receiving little emphasis. I hear of students being taught to accept themselves; to live in the present from moment to moment without attachment and clinging; to enjoy, honor and celebrate their vulnerability. Again, I don’t want to underestimate the importance of approaching the practice with a healthy psychological attitude. For a person troubled by self-condemnation, who is always dejected and miserable, the practice of intensive meditation is more likely to be harmful than beneficial. The same might be said of a person who lacks a strong center of psychological integration or of one who tries to deny his weaknesses and vulnerabilities by presenting a façade of strength and self-confidence.

But I have to emphasize that the training that accords with the Buddha’s own clear intentions presupposes that we are prepared to adopt a critical stance towards the ordinary functioning of our mind. This involves seeing our vulnerabilities, i.e., our mental defilements, not as something to be celebrated but as a liability, as a symptom of our "fallen” condition. It also presupposes that we are determined to transform ourselves, both in the immediate moment-to-moment functioning of our minds and in their more stable and persistent extension over time.

To take up the Buddha’s training is thus to draw a distinction, even a sharp distinction, between our characters (proclivities, dispositions, habits, etc.) as they are now, and the ideals to which we should aspire and seek to embody by our practice of the Buddhist path. The mental dispositions we must acknowledge and seek to rectify are our kilesas, the defilements or afflictions: the three root-defilements of greed, aversion and delusion, and their many offshoots such as anger, obstinacy, arrogance, vanity, jealousy, selfishness, hypocrisy, etc.

So the great affirmation to which the Buddhist path points us is not the wonders of our “ordinary mind,” but of the mind that has been illuminated by true wisdom, the mind that has been purified of all taints and corruptions, the mind that has been liberated from all bonds and fetters and has become suffused with a universal love and compassion that spring from the depth and clarity of understanding. The practice of the Buddhist path is the systematic way to close the gap between our ordinary unenlightened mind and the enlightened, liberated state towards which we aspire, a state which rises to and merges with the Deathless.

To reach this transcendent goal requires training, a precise, detailed and systematic process of training, and fundamental to this whole course of training is the endeavor to master and control one’s own mind. One begins with the development of such fundamental qualities as faith, devotion, moral virtue and generosity, proceeds through the development of concentration, and then arrives at direct insight and true wisdom.

到底是誰的責任?

前幾天寫了「站在你的坐骨上」,有些話還沒講完,例如說,該坐在什麼樣的椅子上這個問題。

很多人覺得花了大錢,買了貴參參(kùi-som-som)的設計師高貴人體工學椅,事情就解決了,腰痠背痛應該從此就遠離自己,日子應該就能過得幸福快樂才對。類似的道理,就好比有很多人覺得在高級超市買著標籤上打著「有機」字樣的食品(拉丁字母表達的,感覺會更有加成效果),吃下肚子就一定沒問題;絕大多數人也都認為,生了病,去看醫生(或者,去看名醫),刷了健保卡(或者自費給付更昂貴的藥材、新開發出來的實驗藥品),身體病痛的責任,就能夠順利轉移歸屬給其他人了。

讓我們先回到高貴人體工學椅的話題。Adrian Farrell 老師點出一個關鍵:「不論椅子設計得再棒,使用者總是會帶著自己過去的使用習慣」,「與其把錢花在購買這些名貴設計的椅子,倒不如好好學習如何使用簡單的椅子」。

我再翻譯一下這句話:就把名貴椅子的預算拿來上課吧,上瑜珈課、亞歷山大技巧課、任何能幫助自己認識自己的身體並且安全輕鬆使用身體的技能都好。

更簡單的比喻是,釣杆和釣魚技巧的選擇。我們的金錢預算、時間預算總是有限的。有限的預算,迫使我們非得明智地抉擇。

如果其他人來擔負照護我們自己身心的責任,這件事能夠長期有經濟並有效率地進行,未嘗不是一種選擇。但是,真的有這樣的選擇空間嗎?或者,真的有這樣的選項出現時,是不是意味著我們已經全然失去對於自己身心的掌控能力?這樣的狀況是我們樂於接受的嗎?

一位矽谷的中醫師談到前一陣子的 Nike 運動手環的集體訴訟案,Nike 和 Apple 對這件集體訴訟案提出和解和賠款,意思是承認這運動手環並不像廣告說的那樣,能正確計算使用者運動的卡路里消耗量。這位中醫師指出一般人常見的心態

這件事背後真正值得討論的是,為什麼那麼多的消費者願意花上百美金,買一個原本不到五美金的「計步器」?原因在於現代人對數字的迷思,認為只要有個數字去觀察、去遵守,問題就可以解決,至於數字怎麼來的、背後的理論根據、數字的代表性、準確度等等,就「太複雜了」、「不用多管了」。

你餵給我一個公式、一篇「科學報導」、一種解決方案(太多種還得花腦筋去思考,很累人的),我就照表操課,剩下的就沒我的事了。於是,人體工學椅再貴也值得買,哪個名醫要掛個號三五個月才看得到也得排下去。於是,花錢花時間上瑜珈課、上靜坐課應該就能有清楚可計算、可對價的收獲與報償

我們不見得有能力扛起一切自己身心的責任,很多事物都有限度,自然界、生命體也都侷限在某些條件範圍。但這麼說,並不代表我們可以把所有責任都丟給其他人,也不代表那是正確(或者經濟、有效率)的選擇。

前面提到的中醫師非常生動地描寫一種場景:

如此的演變十分可悲,幾年以後,很多人可能連自己吃飽了沒有、自己有沒有頭痛等,都得靠「穿戴式電子產品」來顯示數字,即使已經頭痛的在地上打滾,如果「頭痛指數」沒有達標,還只能在臉書上說:「今天很幸運,沒有頭痛!」

中部尼柯耶82經《護國經》(MN.82/(2) Raṭṭhapālasuttaṃ,中阿含132經《賴吒惒羅經》)裡有一句話,後來南傳佛教常常唱頌

atano loko anabhissaro

《賴吒惒羅經》中譯,「此世無護,無可依恃」,依莊春江中譯的《護國經》,「世間無庇護所、無保護者」,依 Bhikkhu Bodhi 的英譯,”[Life in] any world has no shelter and no protector”,依 Thanissaro Bhikkhu 後來的英譯,”The world offers no shelter, there is no one in charge”。

Thanissaro Bhikkhu 對這句話進一步的詮釋是:

You’re free to choose. You are free to write the story of your own life because there is nobody up there taking down the narrative from their point of view. You can write the story of your life right now. You can write one little bit of it right now. But sometimes that little bit can be very important. It can change the whole plot.

你可以自由選擇。你可以自由地編寫自己的生命故事,因為沒有人可以逼迫你採納他們的觀點。你現在就可以編寫你自己的生命故事。你現在也可以先只寫下一小小部分的故事。但有些時候,關鍵就在這小小的一部分,很可能就改變了整個故事情節。

下一次,出現了「看手機好累,怎麼辦?」或者「腰痠背痛,怎麼辦?」的問題時,或許可以試試看「你可以自由選擇」這句咒語。當然,自由選擇之後,責任,也就不完全在其他人身上了。

融合為一體之前

「除非能分辨出不同的事物,否則就沒辦法讓他們融合為一體。這對很多人來說可都不容易。很多人根本連自己的肩胛骨和上背的體感都分不清。」– Leslie Kaminoff

“You can’t integrate the pieces until you can differentiate them, and that for most people is a big deal – most people don’t even register on a sensory level that there’s a distinction between their shoulder blades and their upper back.” – Leslie Kaminoff

這個句子裡有個英文動詞很有意思,也不太容易翻譯:register。通常我們以為就是「註冊」的意思。在這個句子裡,register 指的是 “(often used in negative sentences) register (something): to notice something and remember it; to be noticed”(根據 Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries),要先能夠注意到、意識到、並且區辨清楚,然後還要能夠牢記在心裡。

我們的體位法練習過程,是不是真的能幫助自己去 “register” 自己不同部分的體感?試試看 tadasana,你認得多少?你記得多少?試試看 urdhva hastasana,能分清楚肩胛骨和上背嗎?其他的身體部位呢?

samasthiti-tadasanaurdhva hastasana iyengar

在 urdhva hastasana 移動手臂往上舉的過程,試試看,從正前方往上舉,從斜四十五度往上舉,從側邊往上舉,彎著手肘舉,兩手輪流舉。找到不一樣的感受了嗎?發現差別在哪些部位了嗎?這些體感,回到 tadasana 時,還能夠記得住,還能夠 register 嗎?

在講融合為一體之前,嗯,我們還有很多功課要做呢。

「站在你的坐骨上」,以及,船式 Navasana

現代人非常多時間,都是坐著的。現代人享有各式各樣的坐具,但在還沒有舒適的坐具之前,人們很可能是或者席地而坐,或者跪坐,就像是瑜珈裡的金剛坐(vajrasana)一樣。

vajrasana

(參見 FIXED GEAR, THE SORES AND THE COMPLEMENTARY DO’S,裡面列出 BKS Iyengar 的 “Illustrated light on yoga” 關於 vajrasana 的重點。)

該怎麼坐變成一個大問題。

除了軀幹要能輕鬆直立之外,和「坐」這個動作最直接有關係的,就是我們的骨盆,以及坐骨。

到底應該怎麼坐,照 Adrian Farrell 老師的說法,「從脊椎的角度來看,坐和站是非常相似的事情」。也就是說,如果我們知道該怎麼好好站著,那就沒有理由不這麼坐著。

簡單講,坐的時候,你的骨盆,應該「站在坐骨上」,平衡穩定(因此輕鬆舒適)「站在」坐骨上。

坐骨

椅面的材質、形狀影響也很大。再套一句 Adrian Farrell 老師的話,「如果你能站在上面,那你就能坐在上面」,想想看家裡的沙發,你能平穩地站在沙發上嗎?坐上沙發時,骨盆、脊椎變成什麼狀態呢?

很多人其實習慣是把「躺」在沙發上的「坍塌」當成「放鬆」。(類似的情況,在公車或捷運的座椅上,也時常出現。)

回想看看瑜珈課練習過的「船式」(navasana)。根據 BKS Iyengar 在《瑜珈之光》裡的說法,「身體由臀部保持平衡,脊椎的任何部位都不能碰到地面」(The balance of the body rests on the buttocks and no part of the spine should be allowed to touch the floor.)。(這其實是半船式 Ardha Navasana 的說明,只是這本書英文原文和中譯本裡的船式 Paripurna Navasana 都沒「步驟和技巧」的說明,而且在半船式的說明中也特別指出,半船式和船式這兩種體位法的差別就在於「腿部的位置不同」,可以推論出,脊椎和臀部該注意的事是一樣的。)

Iyengar Paripurna Navasana

Iyengar Ardha Navasana

通常我們對哺乳類「脊椎」的認識應該都是「7頸椎、12胸椎、5腰椎、骶骨和尾骨」。如果我們將依照這種脊椎定義,以及 Iyengar 在《瑜珈之光》裡的文字說明

身體由臀部(buttocks)保持平衡,脊椎的任何部位都不能碰到地面。

合在一起來看的話,大概就會知道,在船式要把腿伸得又直又高,而且同時「脊椎的任何部位都不能碰到地面」,幾乎是一種不可能的任務了(至少我真的沒辦法做到)。

平常我在教船式的時候,常常鼓勵同學,先別想著腿要抬得很高、伸得很直,而且把注意力帶回到「怎麼坐」的這件事:我們是坐在坐骨上,還是利用尾骨來幫忙支撐,變成「坐骨、尾尾三點共平面」,而達到看似表面穩定的樣子。

試試看吧:在地板上好好坐著,彎曲膝蓋(暫時不管要不要併攏),雙腳同時離地後,能不能回到「只坐在坐骨」(或者,「站在坐骨」)的狀態。尾骨呢?尾骨已經受到壓迫,靠在地面上了嗎?

不太清楚嗎?換這種方式試試:拿塊瑜珈磚,確認自己的坐骨已經穩定「站」在瑜珈磚上,然後摸摸看自己的尾骨。調整自己的坐姿,輕鬆坐穩,但別坐在尾骨上。再試著一隻腳離地,回地板,另一隻腳離地,回地板。接著再試試看,兩腳一起微微離地一點點(一點點就好,less is more!),能繼續讓自己的尾骨穩穩「站」在瑜珈磚上嗎?在這種狀態下,呼吸還順嗎?那些肌肉情不自禁、不由自主就啟動了呢?下腹、上腹、下背、上背的情況如何?Ok,感覺撐好久了,放下雙腳,回味一下剛剛的過程吧。

的確是有點辛苦,的確是不太容易。但比起模倣出照片裡的樣態,我自己是覺得,這些不同的嘗試,觀察,感受,好像有趣多了。

與其說瑜珈體位法是在做一些動作、擺一些姿勢,我覺得倒不如換個方式來理解:我們在什麼情境、條件下,進入另一種狀態,這個過程,我們付出哪些代價,我們得到哪些體驗。

下次上瑜珈課、下次搭捷運、下次坐在餐桌前準備用餐、下次拿著手機看著電腦螢幕躺在沙發上看電視,記得都試試看,體會看看,自己到底是怎麼坐,自己的尾骨到底是怎麼站著的!


  • 其實中文裡的「坐」,原本就是指「雙膝跪地,臀部靠在腳後跟上」,「抬起臀部,保持準備拜伏的恭敬姿勢叫『跪』;身體放鬆,臀部落在腳後跟上叫『坐』;由跪姿再彎腰把頭叩到地面叫『拜』;兩膝著地,伸直腰股,叫做『跽』」。(《王力古漢語字典》)

參見〈中国古代“坐”姿与坐具形式的演变〉

  • 這一陣子英國有些人注意到學童課桌椅的議題,不良的椅面設計,讓學童不容易輕鬆坐穩,反而會導致下背不舒服、腰酸背痛。參見Guardian 對事件的報導:Is your child sitting uncomfortably? Then we’ll begin。也可以參考亞歷山大技巧老師所關於此事所發起的連署說明