七走一坐 (Shichi So Ichi Za): run seven, sit one.
The literal translation of the Zen statement, 七走一坐, is seven runs one sit. From my perspective, this statement talks about our work ethics and life pace. It juxtaposes the importances of both "run" and "sit" and also emphasizes the balance between "run" and "sit". A very superficial but helpful interpretation is that we run seven miles before we sit for a minute. "Run" has the connotation of moving, working, improving, and growing whereas "sit" implicates resting, contemplating, and reflecting. In our life, this statement reminds us that it's important for us to always work hard, improve ourselves, and keep growing. Yet after the seven runs, it's also pivotal for us to take a break, to pause our run, and to have the "one sit". In this "one sit", we need to reflect on what we have accomplished and what errors we have made in the last seven runs. By doing so, we are ready to embark on our next seven-run journey.
Without the seven runs, we will not be able to achieve anything in our life; without the one sit, we may as well tend to be exhausted, get lost in the runs, and forget why we depart from our origins in the first place. Only by following this seven runs one sit cycle, we will always be able to enjoy a fruitful and balanced life.
Tea students in the Urasenke Urbana-Champaign association