Regarding the "One Breath Meditation"

A friend sent this to me recently:


Suzuki Roshi, on Shikantaza

From not always so, pp 6-7

Even though your practice is not good enough, you can do it. Your breathing will gradually vanish. You will gradually vanish, fading into emptiness. Inhaling without effort you gradually come back to yourself with some color or form. Exhaling, you gradually fade into emptiness—empty, white paper. That is shikantaza . The important point is your exhalation. Instead of trying to feel yourself as you inhale, fade into emptiness as you exhale.

When you practice this in your last moment, you will have nothing to be afraid of. You are actually aiming at emptiness. You become one with everything after you completely exhale with this feeling. If you are still alive, naturally you will inhale again. “Oh, I’m still alive! Fortunately or unfortunately!”

When you do this practice, you cannot easily become angry. When you are more interested in inhaling than exhaling, you easily become quite angry. You are always trying to be alive… Rather than trying to be alive or active, if we can be calm and die or fade away into emptiness, then naturally we will be all right… So we have enjoyment—we are free. We feel free to express ourselves because we are ready to fade into emptiness.


Thanks for posting this. It’s an interesting way to elaborate on the one-breath meditation that Andrew is modeling.


Fascinating way of looking at it. Thanks.



Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing this! I have the book “Not Always So”—which is very short—and I must have read that particular passage half a dozen times. Yet I’d totally forgotten about it, possibly because I wasn’t ready for this seemingly simple teaching from the great Suzuki Rossi… In the context of my baby steps into the practice of illusory form, the teaching comes alive for me. How precious! Thank you.


Hi @OlfactiveDreamer, welcome to Night Club. I’m curious, why did you choose this name? Do you frequently experience sense of smell in dreams?


Hi there fellow Oneironaut,

Thank you so much for asking! I was gifted this rather incredible sense of smell, which I have also worked on developing in various ways. I am very interested in plants in general and essential oils in particular. I’ve experienced synesthesia since childhood (I see smells and sometimes feel them somatically). This was heightened after I had the chance to explore psychedelics, which is when I first hallucinated smells…

I do experience smell in dreams, actually! I cannot tell how long this has been happening as I am relatively new to dreamwork. My dream recall is still not very good. Sometimes in the middle of the day, I will remember a smell, or even have a hint of it, and then an entire night time dream will come back to me. I’m clearly just at the beginning of an interesting journey. I’ve not met anyone who has had a similar experience but I suspect there are others!


Just curious. Favorite aromas? Mine is cinnamon.

1 Like

It would be impossible to pick just one!

I’m very partial to the smell of citrus fruits and my favorite citrus bar none is yuzu.

In no particular order, I also love fennel, rose, ylang ylang, sweet peas, lily of the valley, frankincense, pink pepper…

I’d have to add the smell of a new born baby, the smell of bread being baked by a loved one, the smell of freshly ground matcha, the smell of one’s favorite tea before and after it is brewed but before the first sip, the smell of freshly cut grass (…) familiar smells from childhood or past incarnations, etc.

Interesting that you love cinnamon, which is a beautiful, rich woody scent. I wonder how much that choice has to do with associations, such as a special apple pie someone has baked for you, or mulled wine, or plain simple cinnamon toast from childhood or adolescence!


It probably has to do with my enjoyment of the old time candy “Hot Tamales.” Mix them with licorice Good & Plenty and throw in some Junior Mints and it’s Saturday matinee at “The Dumps,” the local 1920s-era theater in the run down neighborhood I grew up in. At night, I like to plug-in a lavender scent diffuser in the bedroom at night to help me sleep. I have allergies and some sinus problems, so my scent sense is a bit hampered.