The Winter Sesshin is over, but no
one has forgotten the excitement, which took hold of everyone when Master
Deshimaru announced that 1982 would be the year for the "Return to Zero," the
year for a new vision. First in the dojo (during kusen), and then during two
meetings at the château, Master Deshimaru announced it clearly:
He came to France (fifteen years
ago already) [thirty now], to bring to the West a wisdom so profound that it
could re-establish balance to a world torn apart by its contradictions. Clearly
the key to this wisdom is zazen, this unique method for knowledge of the self
and control of the ego. This seed has been planted. And now his disciples are
many, and their practice is strong. So because of this, and as the world is in
need, and as this action is the vocation of true religion, that we should, from
this point on, enlarge our practice and turn ourselves towards the world outside
Recalling briefly what Master
Deshimaru told us: The conscious and the non-conscious, the left-brain and the
right brain, the hypothalamus and the cortex are in contradiction. From there
flow all the ills from which our civilization suffers-just as much illness of
the body-mind as social and economic conflict. Governments, philosophies, modern
education, religions (ancient and modern) are mistaken. On the other hand, the
most recent conclusions of science (on the close relationship between mind and
matter, and the functioning of the brain) go in the same direction as true
religion. Since in the past socioeconomic power and science were in league to
oppress religion, it is fitting that science and religion now ally themselves
together to correct the errors of the world leaders. True religion is
meditation, and zazen is the highest expression of it. Zazen is the only method,
which allows the practical resolution of all contradiction, the harmonization of
the left-brain and the right brain, man and cosmos, God and each individual.
Zazen is the source of religion, but also the main principle, the essence, of
ecology. Zazen realizes the unity of microcosm and macrocosm.
This is why we who have access to
this source, we who know Hishiryo, are the only ones who have the perspective
and the wisdom necessary to see clearly the errors of our time and formulate the
principles which will allow for transformation. "It is necessary to find a new
principle for humanity. Our group can do it, because we truly have the ability
to return to the normal condition."
Disciples have reacted strongly and
in very diverse ways. We were all prepared to take this turn and were waiting
for it more or less impatiently. But when Master Deshimaru announced to us that
the moment had come, that we were going to do it, here and now, this shocked us
as much as would the most masterly "Kwatz!"
One can roughly classify the
reactions of his disciples into three basic attitudes: those who fear and lack
confidence in themselves, those who refuse to leave the fortress of their zazen,
and those who are too enthusiastic and want to dash off in all directions at
once. To harmonize all these positions and determine the correct attitude the
disciples met together at the château with Master Deshimaru.
To those who hesitated, Master
Deshimaru answered with, "No fear!" "Those who want to fulfill a mission must
have confidence in themselves to give, pass on the flame. If your flame is
strong all the world will be influenced by it. Where the hearth is strong, this
will shine. . . You must have confidence and have a strong conviction. I
understand that zazen is difficult to spread. It is necessary to reflect on
this: What is the authentic religion? What is true God? All the world today is
seeking a true philosophy, a true religion. . . Everyone has their limited
personality. And responsibility is linked to personality. So those who develop
this and teach must create a new method (though without resorting to categorical
thinking). You must use your own capacities, in a continuous effort, and observe
your errors to correct them. You must create and at the same time follow my
teaching. If you have confidence in yourself, this will be easy. If you
hesitate, this will be difficult. But if you have a strong and authentic
vocation, everything will be possible for you." So we should have confidence in
ourselves; our strength is in our practice. From the wisdom it gives to us we
must create, without fear.
Other disciples think that zazen is
enough in itself. Zazen erases all contradiction and the mind quiets, so why do
anything else? This attitude is also mistaken, for it only sees a single side.
Of course, true religion is the return to original unity. Through zazen, we do
nothing more than become one with the universal order and all existence. The
energy of the cosmos flows freely in us, and our zazen influences the entire
universe. But Master Deshimaru reminds us that true religion always has two
dimensions. Through the correct practice, man resorts in himself and accedes to
the ocean of universal ki. But balance requires a counterpart, the descending
dimension. The strength and the wisdom, which we draw on in zazen, does not
belong to us. We must redistribute it around us, in helping humanity. Ku is the
zero point to which it is necessary to constantly return, but from there we must
create. "Helping others is an instinct, this is true religion. We must now,
through zazen, create an effective action for the world. To seek satori for
yourself, that's alright, but we are not alone and Mahayana must help the entire
world. We must ask ourselves, how to use Zen? How to help the world? We must
create a world of peace, a world without war. How to stop the flow of weapons?
How to create a new civilization? How to redistribute the wealth? It is
necessary to create a world without borders. This is the conclusion: A single
world, a single family."
In fact, all disciples were waiting
for this hour. Everyone understands that now is the time to enlarge the horizon
of the Sangha and to direct our energies outward. The general reaction was
enthusiastic. But with this as well, it is important not to make mistakes. Our
strength is zazen. We should avoid dispersing ourselves too much and loosing
that source. Our language is that of true religion, we should not enlist
ourselves in league with movements that often have too narrow a vision. It is
not a question of lancing campaigns in all directions and putting ourselves in
the train of the innumerable already existing movements for peace.
As Master Deshimaru often says,
discussions only serve to disperse energy. Rather than intervene in all the
conferences, all the debates, all the meetings, it is necessary to reinforce our
practice and to deepen the teaching. And from there, we will create a correct
and effective movement, which will attract a larger audience. We must act on the
world, but not lose the view of our primary objective: to promote the
consciousness of zazen. "Surely many will want to help us. We must continue
zazen, this is the most important thing. Few do zazen, only holy people, the
true elite. But if we succeed in promoting this movement, surely people will
In the course of discussions, which
have animated these meetings, several important points were also
·We must not diffuse recycled
ideas. We need new, fresh ideas. So we must find a language designed for a
larger public beyond the Sangha, and translate the deep concepts of Zen into a
living, striking language, accessible to all.
·The value of example plays an
important role. Everyone should carry themselves as authentic disciples
everywhere they go. It is also in this way that the influence of Zen can carry
over to the family and the rest of society.
·Master Deshimaru asks his
disciples to shine over the world, to send out, throughout society, the teaching
they have received from him. Each disciple should become a missionary. We must
train ourselves to speak in public, give conferences, write. All the Sangha must
participate, all disciples must become educators.
Three weeks have passed since the
Winter Sesshin, and the campaign has already progressed. More than fifty letters
have been received from disciples in the provinces and in other countries. We
have read them and a committee will meet to draw up a reference text from these.
This will be widely distributed and will serve as a basis for conferences or
more specialized articles destined towards particular socio-professional groups.
After this reflection, we will draw up letters addressed to key leaders in
society. We also plan on an media campaign. The committee has decided to enlarge
the conferences and have the largest possible number of disciples participate.
It has also decided on a transformation of the Zen bulletin so that all subjects
that concern us can be better explored.
We find ourselves at a turning
point in the history of humanity. "Throughout the tradition of Zen Masters, the
key point, the common point, is the practice of zazen and the abandon of the
ego. But the world changes, and the conditions of life are different today. It
is necessary to reestablish the unique conception of the world that Zen
The great strength of Zen is its
vitality, its living spirit. This was transported from India to China and from
China to Japan. Now it is in Europe. It is up to us to make it flourish. New
actions for a new era. The Sangha exists and functions, but the larger
organization that will allow us to spread our wisdom does not yet exist. It is
up to us, all the disciples, to create and promote it.
Zen is not a science; Zen is not a
relative truth-it is absolute truth. It deals only with the whole, and makes no
separation between time, space and matter in the mind.
It is not a means of external knowledge, but is turned within. It turns our gaze in towards ourselves, allowing unlimited wisdom to emerge. This kind of wisdom is infinite, completely free. Total wisdom and total freedom.
Academic learning and philosophy are in the realm of limited wisdom. Zen wisdom is prajña: limitless, transcendental wisdom, the wisdom of Buddhahood. Everyone can achieve it through the practice of zazen. That is why the practice of zazen is important and necessary.
In the Shobogenzo, Master Dogen wrote,
Beyond the visible universe, the absolute mind of all Buddhas and masters is only zazen. Zazen is the gateway to Buddhism.
Some people have asked me, "Why do you practice zazen? What is the object of zazen?" And I answer: Zazen has no object, it is purposeless, it brings us back to ourselves.
Everything has an object. Anyone who acts, eats, drinks, listens to music or performs any action has an object of which he or she is the subject. But zazen has no object and no subject, it is only union with the absolute self.
What matters is practicing zazen, not thinking about zazen. If you make the gestures and assume the expressions of an angry man you will become angry. If you assume the posture of wisdom you will become wise. If you make the gestures of reverence, the heart follows.
You must not just listen, you must put into practice. Philosophy should arise out of experience. The same is true of judo and the sword, aikido and archery.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of posture, as established by Master Dogen, for true Zen.
When a radio or television set is not perfectly tuned the images and sounds are blurred and inaudible. But when the set is properly tuned they are clear and perfectly perceptible.
Zazen is the fine-tuning of our age. It harmonizes us with the infinite, it returns us to the order of the universe.
Theological and spiritual speeches
and theories (which exist as much in Buddhism as in Christianity) express
nothing more than a total loss of wisdom.
There are no fewer than 15,000
existing sutras. Certain masters boast about the number of sutras they've read
or even reread. These people are crazy. Reading just a third of all these sutras
is largely sufficient. Even that's difficult.
Hearing them count their sutras,
you'd think you were in a bank or in a company during their profitability
review. If a bank employee counts thousands of francs every day, he is not going
to get a raise at the end of the month as a consequence. Accumulating large
quantities of sutras is no more effective. When it comes to true Buddhism, if
you have deep understanding of the Hannya Shingyo, that's enough.
Nowadays, government and
educational leaders base everything on intellect and rationalism. Intuition,
being in harmony with the cosmic order and the meaning of real values have been
lost. Either robotic, heartless logic governs the world, or there is too much
piety, too much leniency, and too much indulgence. We have completely lost the
sense of the right path, the right practice.
In Zen, there's the expression
furyumonji. Fu: negation; ryu: hold on to; mon: words; ji: writings. "Don't
depend on words and writings." Don't rely on anything, don't depend on anything.
Here and now, you are Buddha or God.
The insane don't know they're
insane. In the same way, you don't know that you're God or Buddha. You can only
understand this from within yourself, not from outside. You are aware of the
fundamental cosmic power. You make yourself aware of yourself. You unconsciously
understand your own inner nature. Dogen criticized teachers who sought awareness
and satori outside themselves. This can only lead to idolatry and other similar
Statues are important for
ceremonies and rituals. However, you must not consider a statue of Buddha as the
real Buddha. There's no objective Buddha or outside God on the other side. There
is a subjective Buddha or God inside of ourselves.
We are not born, nor do we die. If
we never felt doubt, it wouldn't be necessary to have satori. Complete
understanding with the entire body is objective satori. The essence of Buddha's
teaching explains that you don't have to think about where you were born or
where you go when you die. The past and the future are not important. The true
Buddha is there, inside yourself, close by.
Everyone thinks about their life in
the future and what it will be like. They cut themselves off from the reality of
their present life. What is real in our lives? Existence is here and now. The
past and future do not exist now, but the present moment includes the past and
Our lives are not just material.
They have no form. They don't exist in a set place. They freely evolve
everywhere. They are not attached to a place or a period of time. They are an
existence which goes beyond time and space.
Real life exists, but sometimes it
doesn't exist. It goes beyond our common sense and thought. Neither material,
science, intellect, nor economics can grasp it.
Your zazen doesn't permit any
language, only silence. It doesn't allow assumptions, only (surprisingly enough)
If we practice zazen, the true ego
penetrates into every part of the cosmos and the individual ego can relate to
cosmic truth. It can follow the cosmic order, unconsciously, naturally,
automatically, without any effort of the personal will.
Then everything becomes a source of
pleasure and accords with our will. And though we follow, there is never any
obstacle. Things go forward as they should, happily.
Fear, anxiety, worry and doubt
From the bottom of our minds, great
confidence arises, the conviction and the faith that we are part of God or
Then, our deep unthinking thought
draws near to God or Buddha, grows deeper and ever deeper. The shadow of the
pine is dark according as the moon is bright.
Reverence for God or Buddha is born
and we become modest, humble. The mind becomes gentle, compassionate, honest. We
learn humility. The vocation begins to work in us without any act of will.
Life, then, can become full of
value and dignity.
The vocation that is born is the
highest. It moves us to harmonize, unconsciously, naturally, automatically, with
We can begin to create greater and
greater respect for the symphony of the world and
more and more infinite beauty.
Shido (the true Way, the essence of
the Way) is not difficult. Yuiken: but you must not love, hate, select, choose,
or reject. Ken: selection; jaku: choose; nan: difficult.
Do (the Way) and Zen are not so
difficult. But we should not seek, desire, select, or hate.
Master Sosan was Eka's disciple.
When he received the shiho (transmission), Sosan received the essence of
Bodhidharma's Zen. This essence cannot be explained or grasped through
Zen studies the true mind, the
essence of the mind (shin jin means faith in mind), the essence of the mind of
Christ, Buddha or God. In the depths of consciousness, in true silence exists
Atman (in the Upanishads), or in Buddhism, ku (existence without noumena;
nirvana, satori). And this deep consciousness in the end becomes cosmic
So shin jin means faith in cosmic
consciousness, in the cosmic system, the return to God or Buddha, and (in fact)
faith in zazen.
During zazen, our mind is fully,
actually, and truly at peace and serene. This mind is the continuation of the
cosmos containing all existences, God, Buddha, Christ, the sages and
The Way and satori are not
difficult to realize-if we don't select, reject or detest anything.
The kanji shi (which means the
largest, the deepest, the highest) indicates to us that the true Way (shido) is
beyond time and space.
Master Ju Hun wrote, "From ancient
times until now, the great Way has not changed. On top, the head. Below on both
sides, the legs."
Dogen himself wrote: Eyes
horizontal, nose vertical.
Being in the normal condition, this
is the real Way. Contemporary civilization is decoration and imitation. We love
to choose, select, prefer. But truth is without decoration, without
To practice zazen, necklaces and
earrings are not necessary. You only need a good zafu to have good posture.
There is neither imitation nor decoration.
Sutras, Sanskrit books, the Bible,
philosophy, psychology complicate our brain and separate us from the real Way.
We should go beyond history, civilization, the social realm and science.
This is not a negative position.
But if we want to understand the true Way, we should go beyond. We should
Shin Jin Mei speaks of faith. In
Zen, faith means to look within yourself, to find your real ego, to discover the
cosmic force, the cosmic energy which is within us. The nature and spirit of
Buddha exists in us.
Master Sosan, the third patriarch
after Bodhidharma, suffered from leprosy. He could not heal. And during his
meeting with Eka, the second patriarch, he [Eka] asked him the deep reason for
"Why am I a leper? Maybe my karma
is bad? I wish to confess."
Master Eka answered, "Please, bring
me your crimes! Show them to me, and just then will I be able to purify
What is crime? What is God? Good,
bad? After this encounter Sosan received ordination and became Eka's disciple.
He practiced zazen day and night, recovered from leprosy and wrote the Shin Jin
Having the Way revealed within us
means having satori. Attaining this Way is not difficult. Obtaining satori is
not difficult. But you must not choose, select, hate, or prefer. Abandoning the
mind of selection, we can attain satori quickly. Through the absolute
abandonment of all things we can become ku.
This marvelous Way is not difficult
or easy, interior or exterior. What do we need to select or reject?
We must not choose with our
personal consciousness. In zazen, you must let the thoughts pass unconsciously
and not attach to any of them. This attitude is important, and good for daily
life. Of course it is necessary to make choices. But ultimately you must be
The poem is about the problem of
conscious choice. Satori is found beyond. So you must clean your mind. Otherwise
this mind is never happy nor content, and tends towards madness. Our life
becomes complicated and hard: "I have no luck. I am unhappy. I must become rich,
beautiful. I want very nice clothes. I would like a baby "
Unending choices make our lives
difficult and complicated. Zazen is the model of non-difficulty.
The study of Zen and Buddhism
through zazen is an easy, simple thing. This same study through books becomes
complicated and difficult.
True Zen means to follow the
absolute cosmic system with the practice of the body.
1. Be afraid! for cosmic
2. Wake up! to cosmic
consciousness, satori-highest truth
3. Be happy! Love every
4. Believe! No doubt.
5. Get up early! with sun.
6. Sit down calmly! in zazen.
7. Stand up and walk! on the great
8. Eat right! fresh and natural
9. Work! with samu spirit.
10. Sleep early and deeply! with
Gyoji, dokan are very difficult to
practice. You must get up early in the morning. The alarm clock will always
ring; machines are very exact. Our mind is not so exact. Our body changes every
day. This is mujo. When you go to bed at two or three o'clock in the morning, it
is very difficult to wake up the next day.
Definitely, on the great Way of
Buddha and the patriarchs, the highest practice consists in not breaking dokan:
to practice exactly like an unending ring, and to do so right up to the
coffin-not only for one, two or three years, not only for seven years.
Between beginner's mind, decision, practice, satori, certification and nirvana, there is not the slightest gap nor the slightest lapse of time.
It is very difficult to come every morning. When we come every morning, we are not moved by our own will, nor by our own action, nor by the strength of others, but by the action of mushotoku, unconsciously, naturally, automatically.
Coming to zazen is not a
requirement or order. But if you don't come to zazen, you will not be satisfied.
You must not do zazen, gyoji, as if it were your obligation or as if somebody
ordered you to do so. I don't order anyone to do zazen. Do as you like. If you
don't come, no one will punish you. If you do zazen because of orders, someone
else's action, it is imperfect.
Kant said, "We should not perform good deeds because of external constraint." The Pope said the same thing and added, "In religion, you must act by yourself." The order must come from the self.
But in true Buddhism and true Zen, we should not even be moved by our will, because sometimes we don't want to do zazen. So what do we do? Because at the same time, we want to follow Sensei. Contradictions, conflicts (katto) appear. Doing zazen under these conditions is not authentic, not mushotoku.
True mushotoku is without conflict,
without contradiction, without katto-nothing. Unconsciously, naturally,
automatically, you get out of bed. This is true mushotoku. This is gyoji, dokan,
true purity: without stain, without bonno, mushotoku, muga (without ego). This
is not about "free will", so it is different from the philosophy of Kant and
In the Shobogenzo, Dogen wrote, "Do
not practice the bad." In the same chapter, he also wrote, "In the beginning we
should try to not commit bad actions. But ultimately, this effort prolongs the
conflict." Last Sunday, in mondo, a woman said to me, "I want to put an end to
my bonnos, but it's very difficult." That approach is useless, the mind carries
along its own contradiction.
In the end, even if you want to act badly, unconsciously, naturally, automatically, you cannot. At this moment, genjo, power appears in the practice. If you practice every day, it is no longer necessary to think about practice or to want to practice. Repetition is very important. Dokan, gyoji are very important. In the beginning, conscious will and effort are necessary. But if you repeat this action of practicing everyday for two or three years, it becomes dokan, gyoji. You can practice good things, unconsciously, naturally, automatically.
Even if you want to plunge into the bad currant, mingle with bad people, even if you submit to bad situations and a harmful environment; through the power of gyoji and dokan, you cannot commit bad actions. This is a very important point. Unconsciously, naturally, automatically, in spite of bad circumstances, we cannot practice the bad.
Mushotoku, muga: this is the true Way, the Dharma; this is the authentic truth, saintliness. This is an essential point in Zen. Mushotoku doesn't exist in any other religion.
Once, a young man loved a rich
young girl. For two years he wrote to her every day, but never received a
response. So he became a monk, and retreated into a mountain hermitage.
One day, several years later, she
came to his hermitage. Kneeling before him, she said, "I was wrong. Now I
understand your love. Here I am, I'm yours!"
But he answered, "It's too late.
Now I am a monk, I have cut my love for you. Leave!"
A few days later, he went down into
the valley to beg for food in the village. All they talked about was the latest
news: someone had found a very beautiful young woman, with a noble face and rich
clothes, dead in the river. "It must be a love story that ended badly." The
villagers buried her far away at that place they now call, the Tomb of
The monk understood. He went to the
tomb and sang this poem:
When you came to the door of my
the dead leaves of autumn
rested, red, on the ground.
After you left, the autumn wind
scattered them all.
Everything is impermanent.
My poor hermitage is worth more than a palace.
Why couldn't our two destinies come together?
Before I suffered,
and you were peaceful.
Now I have entered the way of serenity,
and you suffer.
All these years have passed like a dream.
When we die,
no one follows us into the coffin.
Nothing will remain of our illusions:
So suffering is useless
as is mourning that now you are dead.
So like me, just listen:
The wind murmurs in the branches of the pine.
One day, my master Kodo Sawaki
confided in me,
"Why did zen impress me so much? It
wasn't reading the Shobogenzo, or the words of the masters or any other book,
that impressed my beginners mind.
"When I entered Eiheiji, I was very young. I worked in the kitchen and was an errand-boy. I couldn't wear the monk's robe. I cleaned the dojo and sometimes I went out to buy vegetables, tofu, burdock. Everyday was like this.
But when I had the time, in the afternoon, before sleeping, I did zazen. I imitated the young monks in the dojo.
My room was in the kitchen, very
dirty and very small, next to the vegetables. It always smelled of turnips and
cucumbers, tamari and miso. That's where I did zazen.
One day the tenzo, the head of the
kitchen, a very important person in Eihei-ji Temple-the second or third after
the head of the temple-opened the door of the room.
He saw me in the posture and looked
very impressed. He didn't do sampai, but he might as well have. He took a couple
of steps back, joined his hands in gassho, rubbing them one against the other,
and he said, "This is the true posture of the Buddha in zazen: the true living
He was dumbstruck. The tenzo beat
me very often and not a day passed without him getting angry at me. But that
day, when he saw me sitting in the posture, he was completely respectful. He
said in a loud voice, "True living Buddha!"
So I thought, "Only the posture of
zazen is the true living Buddha. It is the only posture which inspires true
respect in everyone. Through it, I will be able to face anything."
We are hungry, and even before a
we do not eat.
We are sick, and even if we meet the king of doctors,
we do not follow his advice.
How can we be healed?
The king's dinner doesn't satisfy
us if we don't eat it. When we're sick, even if the king of doctors cares for
us, how can we heal if we don't follow his advice?
It is necessary to practice.
It is essential to practice zazen.
If we try to understand religion or teaching only through books or through the
brain, we cannot penetrate it deeply. Some understand Zen intellectually but
don't practice. They think zazen is very difficult or only possible in a
monastery. To the day they die, they never stop changing opinions, and become
incapable of finding the final, essential truth of existence.
The king's table: they admire it
before them, but they do not touch it.
Others begin the practice of zazen,
and after a little while, think they understand everything. Then they stop.
Westerners do not know very well how to persevere.
Master Dogen wrote in the beginning
of the Shobogenzo, "Everyone possesses 'this', Buddha-nature. But if we do not
practice, we cannot have satori, as the practice itself is satori." The meaning
of Yoka's poem is the same. No one can taste the experience of satori in your
Zazen is to seize one's real self,
to find true inner freedom. If we only face outwards, how can we find this true
self and this inner freedom? To face outwards is like fooling around in the
Some think, "Zazen is good. I
understand it. So I don't need to practice anymore." So they prefer to dedicate
themselves to their work, to their family and use them as excuses. Others say,
"Zazen is painful, zazen is expensive, I don't like Sensei, the discipline is
too severe." They always finds many reasons to prefer knowledge to practice, to
study the outer rather than study the self.
Some think they don't need any
help. Big mistake. You must practice to know yourself, to return to the normal
condition. We are offered a good meal, but we are incapable of eating it. We
stay hungry. Another meets a great doctor, but doesn't understand the remedy
given and cannot heal.
Zazen means to become intimate with oneself. Zazen is a good meal, an excellent remedy.
It must be practiced.
Starting today, I begin the
translation and commentary of "Shukke Kudoku" by Master Dogen.
Shukke literally means someone who
has left his home, his family and renounced the world. Kudoku means merit. In
the Shobogenzo, you also find "Kesa Kudoku" which is about the merits which
appear when you wear the kesa.
"Shukke Kudoku" is a chapter about
the merits of shukke. It is a little long, but rather simple, without much
commentary. Dogen first cites Nargarjuna who comments on the shastra of the Maka
Hannya Haramita, then he gives his opinion.
I have always said that the most
important thing is to shave the head and become a monk. Some let their hair grow
in the winter and shave it in summer. These are seasonal monks, like vegetables.
Apples fall in autumn and grow in summer-this is the opposite. But it is
difficult to shave the head if we have work that requires us to harmonize with
society and makes it impossible to retreat into the mountain. Besides, if you
take refuge in the mountain you end up sick. Most of those who flee society do
so because they are incapable of harmonizing with it. They go to Nepal and when
they return to Paris, it is even more difficult. In the end they become crazy
and must go to an asylum
How do we resolve this problem?
That is the subject of this chapter of the Shobogenzo.
What is the difference between the
bodhisattva ordination and the monk's? What difficulties are met by one who
seeks the Way from within his family? Mahayana allows it, but it is very
difficult. Even more so than receiving the monk's ordination.
Nowadays, those who receive the
monk's ordination are not true shukke. Ordination day they do sampai towards
their family, make the vow to separate from them, and right after the ceremony,
they kiss-C'est la vie. I said yesterday that in Japan most monks live with
their family in the temple which becomes their home. The monks who go to the
dojo go home after zazen, like businessmen. Only I, after the death of Kodo
Sawaki, really left my family. I came to Paris, to France, to Europe fourteen
years ago. I am exactly a shukke.
Dogen described the merits of zazen
in "Bendowa", the first volume of the Shobogenzo. Next, he described the merits
of shukke then those of the kesa.
The merits of zazen are infinite.
Zazen itself is satori. Jacques Brosse wrote a very good introduction to his
book for the Japanese, Satori, He said, "Zazen itself is satori, it is a holy
posture, the highest posture. Zazen can save us from the crisis of modern
civilization. Infinite merits result from it, mushotoku."
Kodo Sawaki always said, "The
greatest happiness consists of shaving the head, receiving the monk's
ordination, wearing the kesa and practicing zazen. This is the greatest reason
for our life on earth, the ultimate stage."
This is the essence of the
Shobogenzo. Dogen concentrated on zazen, shukke and kesa. The transmission
received from Kodo Sawaki concerns these three elements. These are the very
essence of the Buddhism transmitted from patriarch to patriarch. It is difficult
to become a true monk and to leave your family. But it is easier than seeking
the Way as a shukke while living with your family. Both are possible.
Still, those who receive
ordination, then let their hair grow and get married fall into difficulties. But
still later, the merits of ordination reappear. Nargarjuna certified that it is
preferable to be a seasonal monk than a layman. It is still better to be a
authentic shukke without family.
Do not criticize the shaved monk,
do not mock him. This would be the worst of things, leading to your fall into
hell. On the other hand, those who respect shaved and ordained monks can obtain
the true Way. It is the same for those who respect the kesa. Dogen is very
simple: just shave the head, wear the kesa and do zazen.
But shaving is difficult, this
means leaving your family. Your family will definitely be unhappy. Some married
monks shave their head, and the wife does too. It is as if they entered their
coffin together. If the wife dies, the husband should die also. Merits result
from it. This is the case with R. and P. But it would be better to live alone,
more merits follow.
Why is it easier to obtain the Way
while being shukke? If you practice the Way (that's to say if you practice
zazen) in a family, the mind gets complicated, many bonnos appear. Doing zazen
in a dojo, bonnos do not appear, you become pure. When people do zazen in this
dojo, they are pure. In Japan, I wanted to do zazen in my apartment, but my wife
would be sleeping, so it was very difficult. In Paris, even if I am asleep, the
inkin comes to find me, I hear the gong, my disciples are waiting for me. P.
comes with the inkin and A.-M. brings me the kesa. Under these circumstances, it
is very easy to do zazen, automatically I can do zazen.
If the home is in a busy place,
it harbors a lot of activity. The root of bonnos, it is at the center of many
Family becomes the source, the root
of bonnos. You must make money. It requires desires and vital energy. A. C.
wanted to become monk. His wife did zazen too, but when they lived together,
their life became complicated. His wife was unhappy. Now he is going through
hell. But soon, they surely will understand both, and he will come back. He came
to visit me, I told him, "Concentrate on your family, on your work, c'est la
vie. Later surely M.-J. will understand. You have both received the monk's
ordination, merits will definitely result from it later. "
Kodo Sawaki told me, "Do not stay
with me, live close to your family." He refused to give me the monk's
And if you leave your home for an
empty field or a deserted place, concentrating your mind you can obtain
What does this passage mean? It
does not mean that you must retreat to a deserted place, but that the holy dojo
itself is an empty field, a deserted place. People always misunderstand. They
want to go to Nepal, to India. Alchemy is a spiritual discipline, but some do
nothing but look for gold. This dojo is truly holy, it is the highest holy place
in the world. If you practice in the dojo, you can brush aside exterior objects.
This is what this poem by Nargarjuna explains:
For a man sitting alone in the
Bonnos disappear peacefully
It is possible for him to obtain unified mind.
The forest means the dojo.
Those who seek honors, profit,
beautiful clothes, a warm bed do not have true peace. Their desires cannot be
satisfied. But for the poor monk, wearing the kesa, begging from the faithful,
daily life is simple so his mind stays always simple. With his eye of wisdom, he
can observe and truly understand all phenomena.
It is difficult to be patient
alone. But in a holy dojo, it is easy. The atmosphere is strong. Others support
Zen is not asceticism, it is not necessary to run from illusions, from bonnos. How can we sublimate our energy, our desires? This is very important.
In the end I say, "Don't lend money
to a man who doesn't do zazen and who doesn't wake up with a hard-on." This is a
How do we understand this?. How can
one know if he gets a hard-on or not? With women how can you tell?
Get a hard-on or not? Difficult
question. Women become a volcano.
In our life, conviction, love, sex are very important. In Buddhism, they say, "Don't try to run away or follow desires." If you do zazen, you can control everything. No need to try to run from sex.
The subconscious is very important.
If you always think, "poor me, a worthless person," the mind becomes like that.
If you think, "I am happy, in the future I want to be like this", exactly that
will happen. Repetition is very important.
Originally, the characteristics of
each person are pure, holy, but karma influences them.
If you do zazen, unconsciously,
naturally, automatically, you can find the truly pure spirit and become a saint,
Buddha. But, if you have something in the subconscious, you cannot.
If you have the conviction, you can
do anything. It is not necessary to fall into fatalism. If you repeat the Hannya
Shingyo, you can obtain perfect wisdom. Realize it, actualize it.
When you repeat the Hannya Shingyo
each morning, this sows seeds in the subconscious. This is conviction. This is
true faith. True conviction gives vitality, activity, the power to act. This is
like a rejuvenating elixir. Conviction is the point of departure for the
realization of our true ideal. Conviction is not intellectual, you cannot obtain
it by science or reason. Conviction is infinite wisdom, hannya haramita.
If you repeat, this is produced,
and you will be able to become strong. Conviction allows the nature of something
to change from limited to unlimited. Conviction is original power, the source to
create infinite wisdom, without limits.
For people who do zazen, conviction
appears unconsciously, naturally, automatically. Mushotoku is not passive but
active. This is an infinite desire, not trying to obtain.
If you do not limit desire, it
becomes infinite. If you have a small goal, you cannot be limitless. If you use
the subconscious in a good direction, good karma, it becomes very useful in
If you use it in bad karma, your
character will break you. Some say, "I don't want to work" This is crazy. Work
is a holy labor.
Yesterday a journalist from Le
Monde asked me, "Why does the Japanese economy progress?" After the war, the
Japanese changed, but traditionally, they liked to work, Buddhism, Zen had
influenced them. In India, the people do not work so much. It is hot, beggars
are increasing. They cannot practice Mahayana Buddhism.
Work, this is in the subconscious.
To relax, to be lazy, is not good. The subconscious wants to work but sometimes
the conscious mind intervenes.
If you are always thinking, "I want
to relax, to take a vacation," life becomes like this. If you think of sex, it's
the same thing. If you love sensations, emotions, these same emotions become a
strong force. And they pull in other emotions, like a magnet. This is a seed in
the bottom of the subconscious, planted in rich soil, in a field or a garden, a
plant comes out of it, grows and a flower opens, which becomes a fruit, which in
time creates new seeds. So our mind changes. Wish for a strong subconscious,
this is conviction.
If you think, "I am not good," it
is necessary to observe yourself. "I'm an idiot, I must become intelligent,
happy. I must become a Buddha, a saint." This conviction realizes itself.
Shiki soku ze
Shiki, phenomena, become satori.
Desires, bonnos, become the Way, holiness.
Our desires can be sublimated. This
is very important.
People in history who succeed and
accomplish great things have infinite energy and infinite desires used in a good
direction. This is very important.
Most people do not have success
before they are forty. Before that, you concentrate too much on sex. But
afterwards, you realize that you must use his energy for good things. Some
understand this earlier, others lose their energy with their gigolo during
Zen is not asceticism. If you are
always thinking, "I want to make love" Foolish! It is necessary to change the
orientation of our spirit towards a good direction. It is necessary to always
exclude fear, anger, jealousy, hatred. if you think of other things, if you have
a strong conviction, you can succeed in everything.
I always say, do zazen and you
obtain a strong conviction unconsciously, naturally, automatically. If you do
not continue, you will not.
Repeat zazen, gyoji, dokan. If you
continue zazen, you can succeed in everything.
Exactly those who accomplish great
undertakings have a strong conviction. Christ, Shakyamuni, Muhammad,
During my trip to the U.S., I read that once Abraham Lincoln was not at all well-known. But when he was forty years old, he met a great woman and got satori. She woke him up, made his abilities reveal themselves.
Women have always influenced men. If the woman is not good, the man is not going to succeed. And, if the man is not good, the woman is not happy.
Creating a good subconscious is
very important. This is hishiryo conscience.
When I was young, Kodo Sawaki gave
me a collection of stories which included this one. I remember many of
A long time ago, the chief of the
Kamakura prefecture, Jito, was visiting Mount Koyoasai. The Daimyo was
travelling accompanied by his very beautiful daughter. He came across a very
elegant young monk in a sanctuary near Koyoasai.
When the young monk saw the young woman, he fell in love with her. Not being able to forget her, he asked Buddha to make her image disappear (like with Tamaki whose problem I solved.) But this young monk was not aided by anyone, and he became neurotic. This young woman's face constantly appeared in front of him. He decided to go to see her. He left for Kamakura.
Eight-hundred years ago, trips were taken by foot. He had to cross the sea by boat. he waited at the edge of the shore and fell asleep on the ground. Suddenly the ferryman called out, "Come, the boat is leaving. Please come."
The young monk got up and climbed on board. He arrived at Shiba and visited the chief of the province, Jito. Jito welcomed him.
"I met you near Koyoasai. Why have
you come here?"
"I have been sent by my temple and
since I had some time, I wanted to see you."
"Please stay several days. The
landscape is very beautiful in this province."
The beautiful woman welcomed him like a servant. He was very happy and thought that this was a dream. But this was reality. One night, he entered her bedroom, got into her bed and touched her. He tried to make love for the first time, and the girl welcomed him. The next day, they started again. So he didn't want to go back to Koyoasai.
One month passed, and at the end of
a month, the woman's stomach got bigger. Jito became angry, "Why have you broken
the kai?" The girl cried and the father authorized the marriage, "But you must
return to the social life."
In this era, after having shaved, a
monk could no longer let his hair grow. My disciples have long hair, short hair.
In the past, this was not possible.
He let his hair grow out, returned
to social life and married the young woman. Jito wanted to get a successor out
of this. A very strong baby was born from their union, then another son.
Thirteen years passed. In Japan,
when a young boy turns thirteen, there is a big ceremony. So the father left
with his family for Koyoaisai. They took a trip. As soon as they took the boat
for Kamakura, the thirteen year old son fell into the sea and sank to the bottom
of the water. The father and the mother called out but were not able to find
him. The father cried very hard, and by his cries, he woke up from his
Thirteen years had passed in the
dream. He was still on the shore, waiting for the boat.
"I experienced many things in
thirteen years, while waiting for the boat."
He had dreamt that he met a
beautiful woman, had sex, had two sons and lost the first-born.
He touched his head with his hand.
He touched his bald head. Am I going to Shiba or to Koyoasai. If I am find this
woman, I will have to get married-masturbation is better"
Kodo Sawaki often said, "For the
last seventy years, I have masturbated after drinking sake."
So we could say that it is by the
power of Kanzeon that the young monk had this experience.
Etienne surely read this story and
had this experience. Mujo, impermanence, life is like a dream.
Our mind is Buddha.
Dogen was influenced by Master Esai
(1141-1215), the founder of Rinzai in Japan, who lived at Kennin-ji in Kyoto,
before going to China.
Ejo recorded this story in the
A very poor man came to Esai Temple
in Kennin-ji. "My family is having problems, I am very poor, please help
The temple was poor and so was
Esai. He only had one black kolomo. It was very cold. There was only one
inexpensive statue of Buddha behind which had a halo. Everything else in this
temple was worthless.
Esai took the copper halo from the
Buddha and gave it to the poor man. That was it. The poor man, happy, left.
Esai's disciples criticized him.
Dogen was very impressed and told
this story to Ejo who wrote it down.
In one sutra, it is said that
Buddha, before his existence in this world, cut off his hands and legs and gave
the pieces to the poor people.
Certainly, it is necessary to
respect the Buddha statue but it is not necessary to fall into idolatry. In
China, Master Tanka (739-824), one day when it was very cold, found himself in a
temple where the priest was too much a formalist and an idolater, Tanka took the
statue of Buddha into the Buddha hall and burned it.
The head of this temple got angry
and said, "Why have you burned this statue?" Tanka responded, "I wanted to get
the sarira of Buddha after it burned."
In Japan and in India, they burn
the body. The sarira are the essence of a human body.
The head of the temple said, "It is
not possible to get sarira from the statue of Buddha."
"This statue of Buddha is only
wood," said Tanka.
Tanka did not have a bad karma, but
the eye lashes of the temple priest fell.
Kodo Sawaki told this one often.
Gonyo was always accompanied by two big tigers and a serpent, he was a respected
monk but strange. He was a disciple of Joshu with whom he had this mondo:
"Now I have nothing. I have brought
you nothing. Mu."
"I have brought nothing, how can I
Joshu then said,
"Gonyo brought his nothing,
existence without anything. So you must leave again, take this nothing with
This mondo is very interesting.
Some believe "I must get (obtain)
satori. I must not think." It is not necessary to look for satori. Then you
should say, "I am nothing. It is not necessary to be attached to the subject of
mushotoku, to be beyond satori, beyond." Don't throw away satori, be beyond all
things, without dualism.
After Bodhidharma, he was the 11th
successor in the line of Nangaku and Rinzai. he was a disciple of Tenryu. He
always chanted the Kannongyo in the mountains.
One day, a beautiful woman living
there paid him a visit. She wore a straw hat. She was a very beautiful young
woman, a nun.
Gutei was over forty years old. He thought "When the sun sets, she is surely going to want to stay in my temple."
She said, "I would like to speak
with you. If you can respond, I'll take off this hat and enter your temple, if
not, I'm leaving again.
He was totally surprised.
"The sun is setting. You must stay here."
"No thank you, since you cannot
teach me anything, I'm leaving."
This woman later appeared to him in
dreams and he wasn't able to sleep. She was a beautiful nun. He thought, "I'm
dumb. Why did she go away? Then Tenryu, a traveling monk, visited.
Tenryu put up his thumb in front of
his face. The thumb of his left hand.
Gutei had satori at that moment and
received the shiho.
In this temple there was a small monk twelve or thirteen years old. When people came, he always pointed his thumb. The people asked him, "Where are the toilets? the Buddha?" He put up his thumb.
He was only imitating his master.
This was formalism. Gutei wanted to educate him.
So, Gutei hid a saber, like a
kotsu, a long knife, and asked him, "What is Buddha?" The little monk raised his
thumb and Gutei cut the thumb off.
"Do you understand the true essence
of Buddha?" Very quickly, he understood.
He was hurt and ran away. Then,
from behind, Gutei called him and said, "Do you understand?" At that moment,
Gutei raised his thumb. The little monk had satori.
This story is very famous. The
thumb that Gutei always wielded. In the past, Zen teachers were very severe. Why
did his disciple imitate him, and why did he cut off the disciple's thumb?
The little monk was following his
teaching, but he cut off his thumb.
This mondo has a very profound
Before his death, Gutei said, "I
have obtained the finger of Master Tenryu, and have only used this finger."
Why did he cut off the thumb of his
young disciple? This is a koan.
Friday, a journalist from Le Monde came to see me and asked me, "many people practice zazen. Why?"
"Because they want to," I
As for their goal, each person is
different. But in the end, zazen is mushotoku. "What is zazen good for?"
"Nothing." It is infinite. This is mu. I cannot explain.
But I explained to him that after
fifty years of practicing zazen, one can control desires, regain energy-in
particular, sexual energy-regain and sublimate. Intuition, creativity,
will-power become strong. This is the best way.
So zazen has a very great effect which you will never find anywhere else, not in another religion, not at the university.
People who follow me, those who come to this dojo, they become strong. Also, conviction becomes strong. The will becomes a great tenacious force, binds like glue.
Patience, do not stop, continue
again and again. It isn't a question of sex, from evening until morning, no.
Repetition of sex, no. You can transform desires into creative ideas.
Yesterday, I wanted to see what the
dictionary had to say on the subject of bonnos. In Hinayana Buddhism, you must
stop desires. In Mahayana, sublimate desires, appetites. Good sex is
Shu sho ichi nyo
Shu: practice; sho: satori.
In the Zen of Master Dogen, as opposed to other religions, practice and satori are simultaneous. This point is very important.
For example: When you eat, during
the action through of eating, hunger is satisfied. It's not necessary to think
of satisfying your appetite. Unconsciously, naturally, automatically, the
stomach is satisfied. In the same way, during zazen, it is not necessary to
think of attaining satori. And it's wrong to believe that eating once means that
it is no longer necessary to eat in the future. In the same way, it's necessary
to continue the practice of zazen.
Zazen is not an instinct, so it's
more difficult. Kodo Sawaki wrote:
Eternal satori is contained and
rests only within the practice of the moment. Zazen means to practice that which
cannot be explained.
Zazen is to practice that which
cannot be thought by our own consciousness. True religion is not thought, but
only practiced. So true Zen means to practice here and now, to practice eternity
here and now.
Buddha does not only mean
Shakyamuni Buddha. The true Buddha is he who practices the Way of Shakyamuni
Buddha. Zazen means recovering the unity between the state of Buddha and the
ego, and not only during zazen but through all the postures of daily life. If
those postures are correct, satori is realized unconsciously, naturally,
Muso fuku den e
What is infinity? Hishiryo (hi:
non): thinking without thinking, thinking beyond thinking.
It is not a question of quantity.
Personal consciousness is not limited. Don't make categories. This way,
creativity and wisdom develop. This is very important.
Kodo Sawaki called certain faces
muso. Muso is infinite beauty, deep. Some people always smile, others not at
all. This is Both are stupid. The appearance of the face is a reflection of the
spirit. It is easier to read a face than words. Personal characteristics
manifest themselves in the face and in the natural comportment. But few know it
and many always try to decorate, to put make-up over their own
Through zazen, intuition becomes
strong. So you can more easily penetrate the real mind of others, like looking
in a mirror.
During zazen bonnos, monen,
appear. Most people think that zazen is to put an end to illusions, to thoughts.
This is a mistake. During zazen, sometimes thoughts, bonnos arise, and sometimes
they do not arise. When you sleep, thoughts do not arise. When you sleep in
zazen, you don't think at all.
This is a problem. The Zen of Dogen, shikantaza, doesn't consist in isn't stopping thoughts nor in chasing bonnos, illusions. During zazen, you can observe your mind exactly. This is the merit of zazen.
When dancing, you don't think,
illusions don't manifest themselves. As I always say, if a mosquito approaches,
you do not know it, do not realize it, but during zazen you are very sensitive
One of my disciples who received the bodhisattva ordination told me, "During zazen, I always have illusions, bonnos. But during the war, when the American planes flew over us, I did zazen at home, and then I didn't have any bonno."
This is very interesting. Me too, I
did zazen on a boat filled with dynamite during the way. When the enemy
submarines approached, I didn't have any bonnos, I couldn't think-only
Kodo Sawaki wrote, "This is a zazen
koan." In Rinzai, masters give koans to their disciples: "What is mu?", "What is
your original nature before you were born?" During zazen, you think of these
questions and there is not more room n the mind for other bonnos, other
illusions. So Kodo Sawaki said:
The Shikantaza of Dogen is
observing our true aspect. Especially the profile of our bonnos, our bad sides,
like the floating bubbles crabs make.
That is the merit of zazen. If you
concentrate on one thing, you cannot think of another thing. If you drink sake
with a geisha, you don't think of anything. You don't feel the little insect on
your testicles. Effects flow to the extent you live from karmic phenomena.
It is also written in the
Do not cut illusions,
Do not seek the truth [satori].
This is very easy to understand.
Thinking of becoming Buddha or of obtaining satori during zazen is like saying
to yourself on the train, "I must arrive at my destination get there quickly."
This thought is totally useless.
So in Zen, the notions of fukatoku,
mushotoku are very important.
Fukatoku means, impossible to
obtain. Fu: not; ka: possible; toku: to trap.
Mu: no; shotoku: obtain or
The original meaning of mushotoku is: not to obtain; without obtaining.
One day of zazen, one day of
During zazen, we have satori, we
are Buddha, God. Without zazen, we have no such thing. So zazen is the holy
posture, the highest. During zazen, the noblest holy mind manifests itself. What
is holy in the world? Only the posture of zazen.
In other religions, sampai and
gassho are the highest religious attitudes. But zazen is the highest posture,
the deepest, the most difficult, the most holy.
Many people in the world perform ceremonies. But practicing zazen together in this dojo, the highest place, we influence each other mutually.
The atmosphere of the group is very important. Those who sleep influence the others. It isn't so effective to do zazen next to people who are sleeping or moving. Our neighbors should be stimulated to practice strongly.
If you do zazen after having drunk
alcohol, that too influences the others.
Kodo Sawaki's notes are very
What is real happiness? The
horse and the cat who try to figure out what true happiness is can't agree
because their food and their sex are different.
Each person is different, but they have one thing in common: most of them, to the day they die, won't know what true happiness is.
A Japanese proverb says, "A gold
coin is worthless to a cat."
Most of the things is our social
life lead to an dead end. You think you have time. What direction do you turn,
which way is not a dead end? Zazen.
"Sorrow, bad luck . . ."
Kiti, is luck; kyo, bad luck.
Ka, is sadness, bad; fuku,
Ze, is the good, what is true; hi,
as is the hi in hishiryo.
Aku, this is about good and bad,
but further this also means true and false.
You must be beyond good and bad,
luck and misfortune, happiness and sadness, true and false. Since these are
formless, they are ungraspable.
Everyone wants to obtain the merits
of religion and tries to run after satori, even during zazen. They only want to
have satori. So satori without zazen appeared, satori without Zen, speaking
without zazen, writing without zazen. Many books are made like this, without the
experience of zazen."
Kodo Sawaki wrote in a very simple
Everyone loves to get money without working, so people love to gamble. If they don't win, it is a dead end. Many people have experienced this (speculating on sugar for example.)
This is why in modern life, in
modern civilization, new religions, new sects appear that seek only profit.
People love movement.
Kodo Sawaki's observations are
At the cinema, at the theatre,
everything is in movement: faces move, the actors, actresses. But zazen means
not to move.
Our floating life: it is only a floating world, it is only a name, a word. In our life we pass the time with words. Everyone was naked at birth. But our parents gave us a name and dressed us. Next we nursed. This is how life begins. Then education gets complicated. We change, change more and more, become complicated. Everyone is very cute when they're born, later on they're not so cute at all. There is no true education.
Everyone wants to be famous,
strong, intelligent. "I want to be strong, intelligent, I want to be rich, make
a name for myself. . ." Nothing but the word, right up to the coffin. But at the
end, we are naked again, and we go into the coffin. The word has no value.
I was very impressed hearing this during a conference by Kodo Sawaki. I had read many books, but what he said was deeper and totally impressed me. To this day I have kept his notes.
They have published books that
record the very short phrases of Kodo Sawaki. And when I have time, I read the
Shobogenzo, the commentaries, books of philosophy, all the books of commentary
on the sutras. But in the end, I come back to these notes from Kodo Sawaki. All
the rest are totally complicated. The book of my master is very short, very
deep. It is real.
To the question: "What is
happiness? What is sadness?" man gives a mistaken answer. "This," he says, "is
happiness." But it is not true happiness. "This is sadness." But it is true
Man makes mistakes because he has
no roots. He's like a child who cries for chocolate and smiles when he gets it.
Most people are like this.
People are very simple, not
complicated. Some only think of money, others only of health, others only of
honors, others only occupy themselves with their beauty.
This is very deep and true. If you
do zazen, you become conscious that you too are like this.
He also wrote:
Some throughout all their lives,
only think of money, others only think of eating.
Some are "busy," others not at all.
They only sit at the café from morning to night, without working. Others never
stop being busy, busy, busy. They are like chickens or canaries busy eating,
dawn to dusk.
I always look at the chicken at the
Gendronnière. Aside from "cluck cluck cluck", they only eat and lay eggs. Then
at the end, they're eaten.
These short phrases are koans, new
koans. Kodo Sawaki always said that Zen is a koan but as the times and eras
change, we must create authentic koans here and now and not content ourselves
with historical koans.
Living without money isn't
practical, but money isn't everything.
In the same way. Life isn't good
without sexual desires, but we should understand that sex isn't everything, that
it is necessary to sublimate. Sublimation is the most important. Those who don't
have sexual desires are like the dead, like cadavers. Even a beggar sometimes
smiles. Even a rich man cries.
Zazen develops respect for the purity in everything, and gives health to your body and your mind.
You can become clear and alive, discovering the value in all things.
All that is still hesitant, unclear, indecisive will disappear and your concentration will become strong.
You can find the value in that which is different from you, all the things which are exterior, so you will no longer have nothing to reject.
Wisdom will flow from you without hindrance and you will be able to change poison into medicine. Even if you are criticized with harmful words, you will have no need to get angry. Even if you find difficulties on your way, you can surmount them with creativity, spirit and humor. You will be able to confront everything which is disagreeable with courage and decision.
You will be able to be fast, lively at the same time your mind will stay calm. You will be able to seize each opportunity for favorable change and harmonize yourself with each situation.
You will be able to be strong and gentle at the same time, adapting yourself to each situation. You will be able to harmonize with others, while maintaining your strong and unshakeable conviction.
will able to be honest and authentic without speaking or acting in excess. You
will have no need to try to make appearances.
Tetsu was taught by Master Dogen.
He was young, intelligent, good zazen, good samu. Later he became the third
Patriarch of Eihei-ji. Tetsu was "perfect" and very capable: sutra, posture,
zazen, comportment, everything was very good.
But he had one week point: he didn't yet have robai-shin ("grandmother-mind"), the mind of grandmotherly compassion, and so he could not truly follow the cosmic order.
Dogen, just a little while before his death, told him this:
You understand all of Buddhism, but
you cannot go beyond your abilities and your intelligence. You must have
robai-shin, the mind of great compassion. This compassion must help all of
humanity. You should not think only of yourself.
We have in us this mind, neither rare nor special, of Buddha. We should believe in it, unconsciously, naturally, automatically. This is true faith. Ourselves and Buddha are not separate.
It is necessary to go beyond the
power of Buddha or God. This is to lose ones ego and have the mind of
compassion. But this doesn't come from intelligence, ability or knowledge.
A master was walking in the
mountains. When he came back, one of his disciples asked him:
"Master, where do you go to
"In the mountain" Answered the
The disciple insisted, "But what
path did you take? What did you see?"
The master answered, "I followed
the smell of flowers, and I wandered with the young shoots."
We must let ourselves be guided by
the dharma of the Buddha and have confidence in the grass and the flowers that
grow, without goal or ego, naturally and unconsciously. The master's answer
flows from the spring of wisdom.
True wisdom is created beyond
knowledge and memory.
Taisen Deshimaru Roshi