THE PRACTICE OF ZAZEN
How to Do Zazen: http://www.sotozen-net.or.jp/kokusai/howtodozazen01.htm
Manners in the Zendo: http://www.sotozen-net.or.jp/kokusai/mannersinzendo01.htm
Magyarul: Terebess Gábor: A zen meditáció pszichofiziológiája (>A zazen fogalma)
Hold the palms and fingers of both hands together.
Gassho is an expression of respect, faith and devotion.
Because the two hands (duality) are joined together, it expresses the "One-Mind"
Put the thumb of your left hand in the middle of the palm and make a fist around it.
Place the fist in front of your chest.
Cover the fist with your right hand.
Keep your elbows away from your body forming a straight line with both forearms.
|At your seat, bow in gassho toward the zafu and turn clock wise.|
|Bow in gassho to-ward the opposite side of the hall.|
|Put your right foot on your left thigh, and your left foot on your right thigh.|
|Put just your left foot on your right thigh.|
|Sit straight, leaning neither to the left nor to the right, neither forward nor backward.|
Place your right hand palm-up on your left foot, and your left hand palm-up on your right palm.
The tips of your thumbs should be lightly touching each other.
Keep your eyes slightly open. Cast them downward at about a 45Kangle.
Without focusing on any particular thing, let everything have its place in your field of vision.
If your eyes are closed, you will easily drift into drowsiness or day-dreaming.
( Exhale completely and take a breath) Quietly make a deep exhalation and inhalation.
Slightly open your mouth and exhale smoothly and slowly.
In order to expel all the air from your lungs, exhale from the abdo-men.
Then close your mouth and inhale through your nose naturally.
This is called Kanki-issoku.
|Keep your mouth closed, placing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, leaving no air.|
Sway the trunk from side to side, decreasing the angle of the movement until you stop in the center, and sit immovably.
Rest the your spine in the center of the zafu.
13. Awareness (Kakusoku)
Do not concentrate on any particular object or control your thought.
When various thoughts arise in your mind, do not become caught up by them or struggle with them; neither pursue nor try to escape from them.
Just leave them alone, allowing them to come up and go away freely.
The most essential thing in doing zazen is to awaken (kakusoku) from distraction (thinking) or dullness (drowsiness) and return to the right posture moment by moment.
The bell is rung to signal the beginning and end of zazen.
When zazen begins, the bell is rung three times (shijosho).
When kinhin begins, the bell is rung twice (kinhinsho).
And when kinhin is finished, the bell is rung once (chukaisho).
Also, when zazen is finished, the bell is rung once (hozensho).
Bow when the jikido sets the kyosaku on your shoulder.
Lean your head to the left, keeping gassho while being struck. After the jikido hits your shoulder, straighten your head again and bow.
The jikido also bows to you as he stands behind you, holding the stick with both hands.
|Hold your hands in shashu. Take half a step for every breath.|
Take a deep breath. Unfold your legs.
Move slowly, especially when your legs are asleep.
Do not stand up ab-ruptly.
Adjust the shape of your zafu, leave your seat and walk to the entrance as you entered.
Instructions For The Practice Of Zazen
This zazen FAQ is based (with modification) on the publication Shikantaza: An Introduction to Zazen published by the Kyoto Soto-Zen Center. Some sectarian differences are noted under Difficulties and Expedients. The main text is minimalist in aiming to present what is most common in as many teaching lines as practicable.
Terms for zazen
Gassho is performed by placing the hands palm to palm slightly in front of the chest with the arms parallel to the floor.
Shashu is performed by placing the thumbtip of the left hand as close to the left palm as comfortable and making a fist around it. Place the fist in the center of the chest and cover it with the right hand. Keep the elbows away from the body with the forearms parallel to the floor.
Isshu is the same as shashu but with the left fist turned thumb side toward the chest. Left fist and thumb are parallel to the floor and not vertical as in shashu.
Hokkaijoin (Cosmic Mudra) is performed in the following manner. Place your right hand palm upward in your lap against the lower abdomen. Place the left hand palm upward on top of the right. The second joints of the middle fingers should be touching, and your fingers parallel. Raise the thumbs up opposite the fingers and touch the thumb tips lightly together; forming an oval between the thumbs and fingers. The thumb tips should join at the approximate level of the navel. In some Tibetan teaching lines the right hand is placed on top of the left.
Settling Into the Posture
Place a thick mat (zaniku or zabuton) in front of the wall and place a small round cushion (zafu) on it. Sit on it facing the wall. There are several positions for the legs. If not too cold sit with bare feet. Leave your wristwatch off.
The cross legged positions provide greatest stability. To sit in full lotus, place the right foot on the left thigh and then the left foot on the right thigh. To sit in half lotus place your left foot on your right thigh. Try to cross the legs firmly so that a stable tripod of support is provided by the knees and the base of the spine. The order of the crossing of the legs may be reversed. It is also possible to simply sit on the floor with one foreleg in front of the other or kneeling using a bench or a cushion. To sit in a chair, place the feet flat on the floor and use a cushion to elevate the seat so that the upper thighs fall away from the body and follow the rest of the applicable instructions.
Rest the knees firmly on the zaniku, straighten the lower back, push the buttocks outward and the hips forward, and straighten your spine. Pull in your chin and extend the neck as though to support the ceiling. The ears and shoulders should be in the same plane with the nose directly above the navel. Straighten the back and relax shoulders, back, and abdomen without changing posture.
Keep the mouth closed placing the tongue with the tip just behind the front teeth and the rest of the tongue as close to the roof of the mouth as comfortable. Keep the eyes at least slightly open cast downward at a 45 degree angle without focusing on anything. If closed you may slip into drowsiness or daydreaming.
Rest the hands palm up on the knees and take 2 or 3 deep abdominal breaths. Exhale smoothly and slowly with the mouth slightly open by pulling in on the abdominal wall until all air has been expelled and inhale by closing the mouth and breathing naturally. Hands still on the knees sway the upper half of the body left to right a few times without moving the hips. Sway forward and back. These swayings are at first larger and then smaller enabling you to find the point of balance of your posture.
Finally, place your hands in Hokkaijoin (Cosmic Mudra, the oval shape against your abdomen described above under Hand Positions).
Observe breathing during zazen, but do not try to manipulate the rhythm or depth of the breath. Breathe gently and silently through the nose without attempting to control or manipulate the breathing. Let the breath come and go naturally so that you forget all about it. Simply let long breaths be long and short ones short. On inhalation the abdomen expands naturally like a ballon inflating, while on exhalation simply let it deflate. There are some additional remarks about breathing under Difficulties And Expedients.
In some Rinzai and Tibetan teaching lines it is recommended that one feel a sense of strength in the abdomen in breathing, that the exhala- tion be done in a very slow smooth and gradual way or a very slight contraction of the anus on exhalation (this should be so slight it may be more felt as an intention than as a physical contraction) be per- formed. While these recommendations have their origin in energy yogas (Kundalini and Qigong) some Tibetan and Rinzai teachers recommend their use. Theravada and Soto teachers in general do not recommend this approach. Soto especially emphasizes just observing the breath as it is without trying to improve it in any way. Specifically, Dogen states that counting the breath and following it are not quite zazen and recommends avoiding their use. Some lineages (mostly Rinzai) recommend a long period of breath counting before simply practicing zazen, others (mostly Soto) do not. Similarly, some recommend that if you are without a teacher, only practice breath counting not zazen, others encourage practice with or without a teacher.
Do not concentrate on any particular object or attempt to control thoughts, emotions, or any modification of consciousness. By simply maintaining proper posture and breathing the mind settles by itself without fabrication. When thoughts, feelings, etc. arise, do not get caught up by them or fight them. Simply permit any object of mind to come and go freely. The essential point is to always strive to wake up from distraction (thoughts, emotions, images, etc.) or dullness and drowsiness. Letting go of any thought is itself thinking non thinking.
Arising From Zazen
Bow in gassho. Place hands on the knees and sway the body slightly and then more so. Take a few deep breaths and unfold the legs. Arise slowly especially if the legs are asleep and do not stand abruptly. Return your sitting place to its original condition. (Plump up the zafu and brush it off with your hand.)
Kinhin - Walking Zazen
Place the hands in shashu (or isshu). Walk clockwise around the room so that your right shoulder is toward the altar in the center of the zendo. The posture from waist up is the same as in zazen. Walk taking a half step for each full breath, slowly, smoothly, and noiselessly, without dragging the feet. Always walk straight ahead and turn to the right. Rinzai kinhin is often much faster and the pace may vary. Match your pace to that of the group.
Difficulties and Expedients
The art of right awareness may seem difficult and the description given above is idealized. If you are finding difficulties invent your own way. In zazen we each must find our own way. If you find you are struggling and need a suggestion as to what to do, it is possible to follow or count the breath among other things.
Counting the breath may be done on inhalations, exhalations or both depending on what you find useful. Count from one to ten and then simply start over again at one. Be aware of the count and the breath and try to maintain continuous awareness of both. If you find that you are constantly losing the count, try counting to five.
Following the breath is done by watching the rise with inhalation and fall with exhalation of the abdomen with each breath. The abdominal wall is viewed as a leaf slowly waving in response to the in and out breaths. Maintain awareness of the entire posture as much as possible and watch the breath reach and leave the lower abdomen.
Please note that opposite breathing (abdomen in on exhalation, out on inhalation) is a Taoist Qigong (energy yoga) method and is not appropriate to do with zazen since it has a specific, health related purpose.
Keizan Zenji recommends settling awareness in the abdomen if bothered by distracting thoughts and above the eyebrows or at the hairline if bothered by drowsiness. Others recommend watching contact of the air with the nostrils or upper lip if drowsy. Dogen Zenji mentions only the palm of the left hand as a point of concentration in difficulties. Hakuin Zenji also mentions slowly scanning the attention from the top of the head downward throughout the body, like following a slowly melting substance as a specific remedy against excess nervousness in zazen. These are mentioned here only as examples of the expedient devices that have been adopted by others. Remember these are only for use in difficulty, the norm of awareness for zazen is to be awake without preference to everything in the universe regardless of whether it is inside or outside the body. Be awake to everything over and over again, that is the essential art of zazen.
Universal Recommendation of Zazen
by Eihei Dogen
The Way is basically perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent upon practice and realization? The Dharma-vehicle is free and untrammelled. What need is there for concentrated effort? Indeed, the whole body is far beyond the world's dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from one, right where one is. What is the use of going off here and there to practice?
And yet, if there is the slightest discrepancy, the Way is as distant as heaven from earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the Mind is lost in confusion. Suppose one gains pride of understanding and inflates one's own enlightenment, glimpsing the wisdom that runs through all things, attaining the Way and clarifying the Mind, raising an aspiration to escalade the very sky. One is making the initial, partial excursions about the frontiers but is still somewhat deficient in the vital Way of total emancipation.
Need I mention the Buddha, who was possessed of inborn knowledge? The influence of his six years of upright sitting is noticeable still. Or Bodhidharma's transmission of the mind-seal?--the fame of his nine years of wall-sitting is celebrated to this day. Since this was the case with the saints of old, how can we today dispense with negotiation of the Way?
You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.
For sanzen (zazen), a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs. Do not think good or bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. Sanzen has nothing whatever to do with sitting or lying down.
At the site of your regular sitting, spread out thick matting and place a cushion above it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, you first place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, you simply press your left foot against your right thigh. You should have your robes and belt loosely bound and arranged in order. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left palm (facing upwards) on your right palm, thumb-tips touching. Thus sit upright in correct bodily posture, neither inclining to the left nor to the right, neither leaning forward nor backward. Be sure your ears are on a plane with your shoulders and your nose in line with your navel. Place your tongue against the front roof of your mouth, with teeth and lips both shut. Your eyes should always remain open, and you should breathe gently through your nose.
Once you have adjusted your posture, take a deep breath, inhale and exhale, rock your body right and left and settle into a steady, immobile sitting position. Think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Non-thinking. This in itself is the essential art of zazen.
The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the Dharma gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality. Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like the dragon when he gains the water, like the tiger when she enters the mountain. For you must know that just there (in zazen) the right Dharma is manifesting itself and that, from the first, dullness and distraction are struck aside.
When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both unenlightenment and enlightenment, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the strength (of zazen).
In addition, the bringing about of enlightenment by the opportunity provided by a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and the effecting of realization with the aid of a hossu, a fist, a staff, or a shout, cannot be fully understood by discriminative thinking. Indeed, it cannot be fully known by the practicing or realizing of supernatural powers, either. It must be deportment beyond hearing and seeing--is it not a principle that is prior to knowledge and perceptions?
This being the case, intelligence or lack of it does not matter: between the dull and the sharp-witted there is no distinction. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is negotiating the Way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward (in practice) is a matter of everydayness.
In general, this world, and other worlds as well, both in India and China, equally hold the Buddha-seal, and over all prevails the character of this school, which is simply devotion to sitting, total engagement in immobile sitting. Although it is said that there are as many minds as there are persons, still they all negotiate the way solely in zazen. Why leave behind the seat that exists in your home and go aimlessly off to the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep, you go astray from the Way directly before you.
You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not use your time in vain. You are maintaining the essential working of the Buddha-Way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from the flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, destiny like the dart of lightning--emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.
Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not be suspicious of the true dragon. Devote your energies to a way that directly indicates the absolute. Revere the person of complete attainment who is beyond all human agency. Gain accord with the enlightenment of the buddhas; succeed to the legitimate lineage of the ancestors' samadhi. Constantly perform in such a manner and you are assured of being a person such as they. Your treasure-store will open of itself, and you will use it at will.
Általános javallatok a zen meditációhoz
Már amikor keresni kezdjük, az igazság akkor is eredendően körülöttünk van: miért kellene hát gyakorlásra és tapasztalásra támaszkodnunk? A valódi jármű természettől fogva létezik: miért kellene hát erőfeszítést tennünk? Továbbá, a teljes test messze felülmúlja a port és szennyet: ki hihetne hát a megtisztítás és csiszolás eszközeiben? Általánosságban szólva, nem is térhetünk el a helyes állapottól: mi haszna hát a gyakorlás izgalmának?
Legyen azonban a hasadék csupán század- vagy ezredrésznyi, a távolság akkor oly hatalmas lesz, akár az ég és a föld között; ha a különbségtevésnek akár csak a nyoma is jelen van, tudatunk belevész a zűrzavarba. Megértésünkre büszkén és megvalósítással gazdagon megajándékozva elnyerhetjük a belátás különleges állapotait; megvalósíthatjuk az igazságot; megvilágosíthatjuk a tudatot; szert tehetünk a szellem bátorságára, amellyel áthasíthatjuk az eget; értelmünkkel távoli intellektuális területeket barangolhatunk be és mégis, csaknem teljesen elveszítjük a test megszabadításának erőteljes útját.
Mi több, még mindig láthatjuk a Dzsétavana-liget bölcsének hatévi helyes ülésének nyomait. Még mindig hallhatunk arról a kilenc évről, amit a tudat pecsétjének továbbadója a Saolin-kolostorban a fallal szemben töltött. A régi szentek ilyenek voltak; hogyan is lehetne, hogy manapság az emberek ne tegyenek erőfeszítést?
Ezért fel kellene hagynunk a különböző kijelentések tanulmányozásának és a szavak kergetésének intellektuális tevékenységével. Meg kellene tanulnunk hátralépni, ami a fény befelé fordítását és a világosság visszatükrözését jelenti. Akkor a test és a tudat önmagától elmarad, és eredeti természetünk megmutatkozik. Ha a kimondhatatlant akarjuk elérni, akkor a kimondhatatlant kell gyakorolnunk késedelem nélkül.
Általában egy csendes szoba megfelelő a zazen gyakorlásához. Ételt, italt mértékkel fogyassz. Tedd félre a világi dolgokat. Hagyj elnyugodni mindent. Ne gondolj se jóra, se rosszra. Ne véld a dolgokat helyesnek vagy helytelennek. Szüntesd meg a tudat, akarat és tudatosság irányító szerepét, valamint a képzetek, gondolatok és elmélkedés intellektuális működését. Ne próbálj buddhává válni. Hogyan is függhetne az össze az ülő vagy a fekvő helyzettel?
Rendszerint egy vastag pokrócot terítünk arra a helyre, ahol leülünk, és erre egy kerek párnát helyezünk. Néha teljes, máskor fél lótuszülésben ülünk. Teljes lótuszülésben először a jobb lábad tedd a bal combodra, majd a bal lábad a jobb combodra. Fél lótuszülésben a bal lábad helyezd a jobb combodra.
Ruhád lazítsd meg és gondosan rendezd el. Azután tedd a jobb kezed a bal lábfejedre, és helyezd a bal kezed a jobb tenyeredbe úgy, hogy a hüvelykujjak érintkezzenek. Majd ülj egyenesen a helyes tartásban, nem dőlve sem balra, sem jobbra, sem előre, sem hátra. A fülek a vállakkal, az orr pedig a köldökkel legyen egy vonalban. A nyelv érintse a szájpadlást, a száj legyen csukva, a fogak érjenek össze és a szemek legyenek nyitva. Finoman lélegezz az orrodon keresztül.
Amikor a testtartás megállapodott, lélegezz ki teljesen, majd hajolj balra és jobbra. Egyensúlyban, egy hegy mozdulatlanságával ülve gondolkodj a nem-gondolkodásnak ezen valós állapotán. Hogyan lehetne elgondolni a nem-gondolkodás állapotát? Ez más, mint a gondolkodás. Ez a zazen lényege.
A zazenben való ülés nem a zen koncentráció elsajátítása. Csupán a Dharma békés és örömteli kapuja. Gyakorlás-és-tapasztalás, amely tökéletesen megvalósítja a bódhi-állapotot.
A világegyetem törvénye [zazenben] nyilvánvalóan megvalósul: korlátok és akadályok soha nem érintik meg. Ennek megértése annyi, mint azzá a sárkánnyá válni, amely vizet talál, vagy a tigrissé, amely hegyeinek bástyái között él. Ne feledd, [zazenben] az igazi Dharma természetétől fogva megnyilatkozik előttünk, s a sötétség és zavarodottság elenyész.
Az ülő helyzetből felemelkedve mozogjunk lassan, és álljunk fel nyugodtan. Mozdulataink ne legyenek hirtelenek. Látjuk, hogy azok, akik a múltban meghaladták a hétköznapit és a szentet, és azok, akik ülve vagy állva haltak meg, teljességgel erre az erőre támaszkodtak. Továbbá a pillanat változása egy ujj, egy rúd, egy tű vagy egy fapálca mozdulatában, és a [buddha-]állapot tapasztalata egy hosszú, egy ököl, egy bot vagy egy "kacu!"-kiáltás megnyilvánulásában sohasem olyasvalami, amit az intellektuális megkülönböztetés megérteni képes. Hogyan is lehetne megérteni misztikus erőkön, vagy gyakorláson és tapasztaláson keresztül? Ezek azok a méltóságteli tettek, amelyek túl vannak hangon és formán. Hogyan is lehetnének mások, mint a megismerést és érzékelést megelőző tett ismérvei?
Ezért nem tartjuk az értelmet felsőbbrendűnek, az ostobaságot pedig alsóbbrendűnek. Ne tégy különbséget okos és buta között. A [zazennek] szentelni magunkat annyi, mint magára az igazságra törekedni. A [zazenben] való gyakorlás-és-tapasztalás természetétől fogva romlatlan. Így tevékenységünk is kiegyensúlyozott és állhatatos lesz.
Általánosságban, e világ és más világok [pátriárkái], nyugaton [Indiában] és keleten [Kínában], valamennyien hasonlóképpen őrizték a Buddha tartását, és teljes szabadságot gyakoroltak, követve vallásuk szokásait. Csupán az ülésnek szentelték magukat, és a nyugalom állapotának birtokosai lettek.
Bár létezik tízezernyi megkülönböztetés és ezernyi különbség, mi kizárólag a zazenben megnyilvánuló igazságra törekedjünk. Miért kellene ülőhelyünket elhagyni, hogy hiábavaló utazásokat tegyünk porlepte vidékekre? Azonban ha itt és most egyetlen hibás lépést teszünk, elhagyjuk a helyes cselekvés színterét.
Rendelkezünk a leglényegesebbel, az emberi testtel: sohasem szabad hiábavalóan vesztegetnünk az időt. Fenntartjuk a legfőbb lényeget, és arra támaszkodunk; nem más az, mint a buddhista igazság: ki vágyhatna arra, hogy a tűzkőből kipattanó szikrákat élvezze? Mi több, a fizikai test hasonlatos a fűszálon lévő harmatcsepphez. Az élet tovatűnik, akár a villámlás. Hirtelen szertefoszlik. Egy pillanat alatt odavész.
Nagyon kérlek benneteket, nemes társak az igaz tanulásban, nehogy olyannyira hozzászokjatok a képzetekhez, hogy megrémüljetek az igazi sárkánytól. Törekvéseteket az Útnak szenteljétek, amely közvetlenül hozzáférhető és egyenes. Tiszteljétek azokat, akik már meghaladták az intellektuális vizsgálódást, és akik szándéktól mentesek. Legyetek összhangban a buddhák bódhi-állapotával. Váljatok a pátriárkák szamádhijának hiteles örökösévé. Ha hosszú ideig ekként gyakoroljátok ezt az állapotot, akkor bizonyosan ti magatok is olyanná váltok, mint ez az állapot. A kincsesház magától kitárul, és [tartalmát] szabadon megkaphatjátok, s használhatjátok kedvetek szerint.
Points to Watch in Zazen
by Keizan Jokin
Chapter 8 (from the book: Soto Approach to Zen)
Keizan, the founder of Sojiji wrote this manuscript, while he was staying at Yokoji, a temple in Ishikawa prefecture. Dogen, in Fukanzazengi gave the basic rules for zazen, but Keizan made these rules more explicit. In Zazenyojinki he goes into such details as choosing a sitting place, precautions against weather, harmony of breathing, and ways to calm the mind. Zazenyojinki even covers sitting posture, eating habits, proper clothing, inhaling and exhaling, psychological condition, and sitting rules. It thus gives the trainee a detailed set of precautions for nearly all-foreseeable problems.
Together with Fukanzazengi this work provides a base for Soto Zen practice. The trainee will find here all he needs to avoid the major pitfalls of zazen.
Manzan (Dohaku (1636-1715) published Zazenyojinki in 1680 and wrote an introduction for it. Since then the work has prompted a number of commentaries - the most famous being one by Shigetsu Ein (died 1764) called Zazenyojinki Funogo.
Zazen clears up the human-being mind immediately and lets him dwell in his true essence. This is called showing one's natural face and expressing one's real self. It is freedom from body and mind and release from sitting and lying down.
So think neither of good nor on evil. Zazen transcends both the unenlightened and the sage, rises above the dualism of delusion and enlightenment, and crosses over the division of beings and Buddha. Through zazen we break free from all things, forsake myriad relations, do nothing, and stop the working of the six sense organs.
Who does this? We still do not know his name. We should call it neither body nor mind. If we try to imagine it, it defies imagination. If we try to describe it, it defies description. It is like the fool - and also the sage. It is high as the mountain and deep as the sea - impossible to see the top or bottom. It shines without an object, and the eyes of wisdom penetrate beyond the Body; the Body expressed itself and forms emerge. The ripple of one wave touches off 10,000 waves. The slight twitch of consciousness brings the 10,000 things bubbling up. The so-called four elements and five aggregates combine, and the four limbs and five organs immediately take form. In addition the 36 bodily possessions and the 12 mutual causes arise and circulate in successive currents. They interpenetrate with myriad things.
Our mind is like the ocean water, our body, like the waves. Just as there is not a single wave outside the ocean waters, not a drop of water exists outside waves. The water and waves are not different; action and inaction do not differ. So it is said: "Even though living and dying, going and coming, they are true men. Even though possessing the four elements and five aggregates, they have the eternal body." This zazen directly enters the ocean of the Buddha Mind and immediately manifests the Buddha Body. Then the Mind -inherently unexcelled, clear, and bright-suddenly emerges, and the supreme light shines fully at last. The ocean waters know no increase or decrease, and neither do the waves undergo change. All Buddhas appear in this world to solve its cloud. It reaches without thinking and radiates the essential teaching in silence. Sitting in both heaven and earth, we express our whole body in freedom. The great man who has sloughed off thinking is like one who has died the Great Death. No illusions distort his sight; his feet pick up no dust. No dust anywhere and nothing obstructs him.
Pure water has neither front nor back. In a clear sky there is essentially no inside and out side. Like them - transparent and clear - zazen shines brightly by itself. Form and void are undivided nor are objects and wisdom apart. They have been together from time eternal and have no name. The Third Patriarch, a great teacher, tentatively called it "Mind"; the respected Nagarjuna called it "Body." It expresses the form of the Buddha and the body of the Buddhas. This full-moon form has neither lack nor excess. Anyone self-identified with this mind is a Buddha. The light of this self, shining both now and in the past, gains shape and fulfills the samadhi of the Buddhas.
The Mind essentially is not two; the Body takes various shapes through causality. Mind-only and Body-only cannot be explained either as different or the same. The Mind changes and becomes the most crucial problems by giving all beings direct access to the Buddha's wisdom. They teach a wonderful way of calmness and detachment zazen. It is, in fact, the self-joyous meditation of the Buddhas. It is the king of meditations. Dwelling in this meditation even for a moment will clear away your delusions. This, we know, is the right gate to Buddhism.
Those who would clear up their mind must abandon complex intellection, forsake the world and Buddhism, and make the Buddha Mind appear. Then the cloud of delusion lifts and the moon of the mind shines anew.
The Buddha is supposed to have said that hearing and thinking about Buddhism is like standing outside the gate but that zazen is truly returning home and sitting down in comfort. This is true. In hearing and thinking of Buddhism, opinions prevail. The mind remains confused; it is truly like standing outside the gate. But in this zazen all things disappear; it is not conditioned by place. It is like returning home and sitting down in comfort.
The delusion of the five hindrances arises from ignorance. Ignorance stems from not knowing the self - the self, that zazen enables us to know. Even if we cut off the five hindrances, we still remain outside the sphere of the Buddhas and patriarchs unless we also free ourselves from ignorance. And the most effective way to do this is zazen. An ancient sage has said: "When delusions disappear, calmness emerges, When calmness emerges, wisdom arises. When wisdom, arises, there is true understanding.
To get rid of delusive thoughts we have to stop thinking about good and evil. We have to sever all relations, throw everything away, think of nothing, and do nothing with our body. This is the primary precaution. When delusive relations disappear, delusive thoughts disappear. When delusive thoughts disappear, there emerges the reality that gives us clear insight into all things. It is not passivity, nor is it activity.
Free yourself from all such trifles as art, technique, medicine, and fortune telling. Stay away from singing, dancing, music, noisy chatter, gossip, publicity, and Profit-seeking. Although composing verse and poetry may help quiet your mind; don't become too intrigued by them. Also abandon writing and calligraphy.
This advice represents a supreme legacy from the seekers of the way in the past. It outlines the prerequisites for bringing your mind into harmony.
Also avoid both beautiful robes, and stained clothing. A beautiful robe gives rise to desire, and there is also the danger of theft. It, there fore, hinders the truth-seeker. If someone hap pens to offer you a rich robe, turn it down. This has been the worthy tradition from long ago. If you have such a robe from before, discount its importance. And if someone steals it, don't brood over your loss.
Wear old clothes but mend any holes and wash off any stain or oil. If you don't clean off the dirt, your chances of getting sick increase, and this would obstruct training.
Lack of clothing, lack of food, and lack of sleep - these are the three lacks. They become a source of idleness. In eating, avoid anything unripe, indigestible, rotten, or unsanitary. Such food will make your stomach rumble and impair your body and mind. You will merely increase your discomfort in zazen. And don't fill up with delicacies. Such gorging not only will decrease your alertness, but also will show everyone that you still have not freed yourself from avarice. Food exists only to support life; don't cling to its taste. If you do zazen with a full stomach you create the cause of sickness. Avoid zazen immediately after breakfast or lunch; it is better to wait awhile.
Generally, monks watch the amount of food they eat. Watching their food intake means limiting the amount: eat two thirds and leave one third. In preparing for zazen, take cold Preventing medicine, sesame seed and mountain potatoes, In actually doing zazen, don't lean against walls, backs of chairs, or screens. Stay away from high places with strong winds even if the view is good. This is a fine way to get sick.
If your body is feverish or cold, dull or active hard or soft, or heavy or light, you probably aren't breathing correctly. Check your breathing, too, if your body feels overly irritable. You must make sure that you are breathing harmoniously at all times during zazen.
To harmonize breathing, use this method: open your mouth for awhile and if a long breath comes, breathe long; if a short breath comes, breathe short. Gradually harmonize your breathing and follow it naturally. When the timing becomes easy and natural, quietly shift your breathing to your nose. When breathing and mind are not coordinated, certain symptoms arise. Your mind sinks or rises, becomes vague or sharp, wanders outside the room or within the body; sees the image of the Buddha or Bodhisattvas, gives birth to corrupting thoughts, or seeks to understand the doctrines of the sutras. When you have these symptoms, it means your mind and breathing are not in harmony. If you have this trouble, shift your mind to the soles of both feet. If the mind sinks, put it on the hairline and between the eyebrows. If your mind is disturbed, rest it on the tip of the nose or on the solar plexus. In ordinary zazen, put your mind in your left palm. In prolonged sitting, even without this the mind naturally remains undisturbed. The old teaching emphasized illumination of mind, but doesn't pay too much attention to this.
Any excesses lead to a disturbed mind. Anything that puts a strain on body and mind becomes a source of illness. So don't practice zazen where there is danger of fire, flood strong winds, and robbery. Keep away from areas near the seashore, bars, and red light districts, homes of widows and young virgins, and theaters. Avoid living near kings, ministers, and high authority or near gossips and seekers after fame and profit.
Temple rituals and buildings have their worth. But if you are concentrating on zazen, avoid them. Don't get attached to sermons and instructions because they will tend to scatter and disturb your mind. Don't take pleasure in attracting crowds or gathering disciples. Shun a variety of practices and studies. Don't do zazen where it is too light or too dark, too cold or too hot, or too near pleasure-seekers and entertainers. You should practice inside the meditation hall, go to Zen masters, or take yourself to high mountains and deep valleys. Green waters and Blue Mountains - these are good places to wander. Near streams and under trees - these places calm the mind. Remember that all things are unstable. In this you member that all things are unstable. In this you may find some encouragement in your search for the way.
The mat should be spread thickly: zazen is the comfortable way. The meditation hall should be clean. If incense is always burned and flowers offered the gods protecting Buddhism and the Bodhisattvas cast their shadows and stand guard. If you put the images of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and Arhats there, all the devils and witches are powerless.
Dwelling always in great compassion, you should offer the limitless merits of zazen to all beings. Don't let pride, egotism, and arrogance arise; they are possessions of the heretical and unenlightened. Vow to cut off desire; vow to obtain enlightenment. Just do zazen and nothing else. This is the basic requirement for zazen.
Before doing zazen, always wash your eyes and feet, and tranquilize your body and mind. Move around easily. Throw away worldly feelings, including the desire for Buddhism. Although you should not begrudge the teaching, don't preach it unless you are asked. After three requests, give the four effects (indicate, instruct, benefit, rejoice). When you feel like talking, keep quiet nine out of 10 times-like mold growing around the mouth and a fan used in December or like a bell hanging in the sky that rings naturally without reliance on the four directions of the wind.
For the trainee this is the main point to watch: possessing the teaching but not selling it cheap. Attaining enlightenment but not taking pride in it. This zazen does not attach itself one-sidedly to doctrine, training, or enlightenment. It combines all these virtues. Enlightenment ordinarily means Satori, but this is not the spirit of zazen. Training ordinarily means actual practice, but this is not the spirit of zazen. Doctrine ordinarily means stopping evil and doing good, but this is not the spirit of zazen.
Although Zen has doctrines, they differ from those of Buddhism in general. The method of direct pointing and true transmission is expressed by the whole body in zazen. In this expression, there are no clauses and sentences. Here, where mind and logic cannot reach, zazen expresses the 10 directions. And this is done without using a single word. Isn't this the true doctrine of the Buddhas and patriarchs?
Although Zen talks about training, it is the training of no-action. The body does nothing except zazen. The mouth does not utter the Dharani, the mind does not work at conceptual thinking; the six sense organs are naturally pure and have no defilement. This is not the 16 views (toward the Four Noble Truths) of the Sravaka, or the 12 causal relations of the Pratyekabuddha, or the six paramitas and other training of the Bodhisattvas. Nothing is done except zazen, and this zazen is called the Buddha's conduct. The trainee just dwells comfortably in the self-joyous meditation of the Buddhas and freely performs the four comfortable actions of the Bodhisattvas. This then is the deep and marvelous training of the Buddhas and patriarchs.
And although we talk about enlightenment, we become enlightened without enlightenment. This is the king of samadhi. This is the samadhi that gives rise to the eternal wisdom of the Buddha. It is the samadhi from which all wisdom arises. It is the samadhi that gives rise to natural wisdom. It is the clear gate that opens into the compassion of the Tathagata. It is the place that gives rise to the teaching of the great comfortable conduct (zazen) - It transcends the distinction between sage and commoner; it is beyond dualistic judgment that separates delusion and enlightenment. Isn't this the enlightenment that expresses one's original face?
Though zazen does not cling to virtue, meditation, and wisdom, it includes them. So-called virtue protects one from wrong and stops evil. But in zazen we see the total body without two-ness. We abandon all things and stop varied relations; we do not cling to Buddhism and worldly affairs; we prized religious sentiment and worldly thoughts. There is neither right and wrong nor good and evil. What is there to suppress and to stop? This is the formless virtue of Buddha nature. Usually zazen means concentrating the mind and eliminating extraneous thoughts. But in this zazen, we free ourselves from dualism of body and mind and of delusion and enlightenment. Neither the body nor mind changes, moves, acts, or worries.
Like a rock, like a stake, like a mountain, like an ocean, the two forms of movement and rest do not arise. This is meditation without the form of meditation. Because there is no form of meditation, it is called just meditation. But in this zazen we naturally destroy the obstacle of knowledge (ignorance), forget the delusive activity of the mind; our entire body becomes the eye of wisdom; there is no discrimination and recognition. We clearly see the Buddha nature and are inherently not deluded. We cut the delusive root of the mind and the light of the Buddha mind shines through suddenly.
This is wisdom without the form of wisdom. Because it is wisdom without form, it is called Great Wisdom. The teachings of the Buddha and the sermons of Sakyamuni (in his life) are all included in virtue, meditation, and wisdom. In this zazen we hold all virtue, train all meditation, and penetrate into wisdom. Suppression of demons, enlightenment, serand death all depend on this power. Superior work and illuminating sermon are all in the zazen. Interviewing the Zen master is also zazen.
If you want to do zazen, you must first find a quiet place. You should sit on a thick cushion. You should allow no smoke or wind to enter. You should keel away from rain and dew. Take care of the sitting place and keep it clean. The Buddha sat on a diamond seat, and the patriarchs sat on huge rocks, but in each case they used cushions. The sitting place should neither be too light during the day nor too dark during the night. It should be warm in winter and cool in summer. These are precautions regarding the place abandon the functioning of the mind; stop dualistic thinking, and do not plan to become a Buddha. Don't think about right and wrong. Do not waste time make efforts as though saving your burning head.
The Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree and Bodhidharma wall gazing concentrated only on zazen and did nothing else. Sekiso (Shih-shuang Ch'ing-chu) (807-888) sat like a withered tree. Nyojo (Ju-tsing) (1163-1228) warned against taking a nap while doing zazen. Nyojo always said that you can obtain your goal for the first time by merely sitting - without burning incense, giving salutation, saying the Nembutsu, practicing austerity, chanting the sutra, or performing various duties. Generally when doing zazen you should wear a kesa; you must not leave this out. You should not sit completely on the cushion; it should be put halfway back under the spine. This is the sitting method of the Buddhas and the patriarchs. Some meditate in paryanka and others in half-paryanka. In paryanka you must put your right thigh. Wearing your robe loosely adjust your posture.
Next rest your right hand on your left foot and your left hand on your right palm. Touching your thumbs together, bring your hands close to your body. Put them close to your navel. Sit upright and do not lean either to the left or right. Neither should you lean forward nor backward. Place your navel. Keep your tongue against the palate, and breathe through your nose. Keep your lips and teeth firmly closed. You should keep your eyes open. Neither open them too wide nor narrow them too much. After you have seated your self comfortably, inhale sharply. To do this you open your mouth and breathe out once or twice.
After sitting you should move your body seven or eight times from the left to right, going from large motions to small. Then you should sit like an immovable mountain. In this position try to think the unthinkable How do you think the unthinkable? By going beyond both thinking and unthinking. This is the key to zazen. You should cut off your delusions immediately and enlighten the way suddenly.
When you want to get up from zazen, put your hands on your thighs with palms up and move your body seven or eight times from left to right with the motions getting progressively larger. Then open your mouth and inhale; put your hands on the floor; gently arise - from the cushion; and quietly walk around. Turn your body to the right and walk to the right. If you feel sleepy during zazen, you should move -your body and open your eyes widely. Concentrate your mind on the top of your head, edge of your hair, or between your eyebrows. If this doesn't make you - wide awake, stretch out your hand and rub your eyes, or massage your body. If even this does not awaken you, get up from your seat and walk around lightly. You should walk around to the right. If you walk in the way for about 100 steps, your sleepiness should go away. The method of walking is to take a breath every short step (about half of the average step); like moving without moving, it should be done quietly. If even all this does not awaken you, wash your eyes and cool your head. Or read the introduction of the precepts of the Bodhisattva. By these various means you should avoid sleep.
The most important thing is to transcend the problem of birth and death. Though this life moves swiftly, the eye for seeing the way is not open. We must realize that this is no time to sleep. If you are about to be lulled to sleep, you should make this vow: "My habitual passion from former actions is already deep-rooted; therefore I have already received the hindrance of sleep. When will I awake from the darkness? Buddhas and the patriarchs I seek escape from the suffering of my darkness through your great compassion.
If your mind is disturbed, rest it on the tip of the nose or below the navel and count your inhaled and exhaled breath. If your mind still is not calm, take a Koan and concentrate on it. For example consider these non-taste the stories: "Who is this that comes before me?" (Hui-neng); "Does a dog have Buddha nature?" (Chao-chou); Yun men's Mt Sumeru and Chao-chou's oak tree in the garden. These are available applications. If your mind is still disturbed, sit and concentrate on the moment your breath has stopped and both eyes have closed forever, or on the unborn state in your mother's womb or before one thought arises. If you do this, the two Sunyatas (non-ego) will emerge, and the disturbed mind will be put at rests.
When you arise from meditation and unconsciously take action, that action is itself a Koan. Without entering into relation, when you accomplish practice and enlightenment, the Koan manifests itself. State before the creation of heaven and earth, condition of empty kalpa, and wondrous functions and most important thing of Buddhas and patriarchs - all these are one thing, zazen.
We must quit thinking dualistically and put a stop to our delusive mind, cool our passions, transcend moment and eternity, make our mind like cold ashes and withered trees, unify meditation and wisdom like a censer in an old shrine, and purify body and mind like a single white strand. I sincerely hope that you will do all this.