Teachings of Master Deshimaru

New Actions for a New Era


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 the Sangha.

 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' Reactions

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.

Creating a Movement

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 come."

In the course of discussions, which have animated these meetings, several important points were also highlighted:

·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.

Where Are We Now?

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 offers."

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.


Zazen, Mushotoku  

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 heresies.

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 future.

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) faith.

The Modern Fukanzazengi

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 disappear.

From the bottom of our minds, great confidence arises, the conviction and the faith that we are part of God or Buddha.

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 all existences.

We can begin to create greater and greater respect for the symphony of the world and

more and more infinite beauty.

Shin Jin Mei

Penetrating the Way is not difficult,
But you must not love, hate, choose, or reject

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 books.

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 consciousness.

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 saints.

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 imitation.

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 abandon everything.

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 his sickness.

"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 you."

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 Mei.

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 beyond choice.

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.

The Ten New Principles of Zen

True Zen means to follow the absolute cosmic system with the practice of the body.

1. Be afraid! for cosmic system

2. Wake up! to cosmic consciousness, satori-highest truth

3. Be happy! Love every existence

4. Believe! No doubt.

5. Get up early! with sun.

6. Sit down calmly! in zazen.

7. Stand up and walk! on the great Earth

8. Eat right! fresh and natural foods.

9. Work! with samu spirit.

10. Sleep early and deeply! with sun.

Gyoji, Dokan

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 Christianity.

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.

The autumn wind scatters the dead leaves
(the story of Takiguchi and Yokobue)

As told by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

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 Love.

The monk understood. He went to the tomb and sang this poem:

When you came to the door of my hermitage,
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.

True Living Buddha

As told by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

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 Buddha!

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."

Shodoka. Poem 69.

We are hungry, and even before a royal table
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 place.

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 playground.

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.

Shukke Kudoku

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 sins.

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 ordination.

And if you leave your home for an empty field or a deserted place, concentrating your mind you can obtain no-mind.

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 forest,
Bonnos disappear peacefully
Without attachment
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 you.

Zen is Not Asceticism

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 Japanese proverb.

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 life.

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 ku.

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 vacation.

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, Gandhi.

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.

Zen and Good Desires - The Story of Shachekushi

When I was young, Kodo Sawaki gave me a collection of stories which included this one. I remember many of them.

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 dream.

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.

Zen and Good Desires - Four Stories

The Buddha Statue

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 Shobogenzo Zuimonki.

A very poor man came to Esai Temple in Kennin-ji. "My family is having problems, I am very poor, please help me."

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.

Story of Gonyo-son

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."

Joshu answered

"Abandon everything."

"I have brought nothing, how can I abandon that?"

Joshu then said,

"Gonyo brought his nothing, existence without anything. So you must leave again, take this nothing with you."

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.


Story of Gutei

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 meaning.

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.


Sunday, December 7, 1980 11 o'clock

Friday, a journalist from Le Monde came to see me and asked me, "many people practice zazen. Why?"

"Because they want to," I responded.

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 alright.

Zazen and Satori

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, automatically.

Infinite Beauty

Muso fuku den e

Muso: infinite

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.

Muso: non-aspect. non-apparent.

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 characteristics.

Through zazen, intuition becomes strong. So you can more easily penetrate the real mind of others, like looking in a mirror.

Looking at your Mind

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 to it.

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 zazen.

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 Shodoka:

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 profit.

The original meaning of mushotoku is: not to obtain; without obtaining.

One day of zazen, one day of satori.

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.

Happiness and Sadness

Kodo Sawaki's notes are very interesting,

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, happiness.

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 way.

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 quite interesting.

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 happiness.

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.

Only Zazen

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.

You will able to be honest and authentic without speaking or acting in excess. You will have no need to try to make appearances.

With Grandmother's Mind

As told by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

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.

Following the Smell of Flowers

As told by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

A master was walking in the mountains. When he came back, one of his disciples asked him:

"Master, where do you go to walk?

"In the mountain" Answered the master.

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