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True Zen Teachings

For the book, Sit

Zen Master Taisen Deshimaru was the greatest disciple of Master Kodo Sawaki, who brought the True Zen practice of Bodhidharma and Dogen back to life in Twentieth Century Japan. Upon the death of his master, Deshimaru followed the advice of Kodo Sawaki and brought True Zen to the West, where he taught for fifteen years until his death in 1982.

Headquartered in Paris, he had thousands of disciples throughout Europe, Africa, Latin America and Canada, and wrote dozens of books published in French, English, Spanish and German. This book, Sit, contains the kusen, or oral teachings, he gave during the 36 days of Summer Sesshin in the French Alps in 1978. These teachings are particularly relevant to the practice of Zen in present day America, where in many Zen Centers (particularly those in the Harada-Yasutani lineage) the historically separate practices of Soto and Rinzai Zen have been combined.

Through this critique of both Soto and Rinzai Zen practice, Master Deshimaru clearly illustrates the deep mistakes and problems that have occurred from this mixture, and points the way to true practice.

As a recorder of these kusen in Val D'Isère that Summer of 1978, and as the only person in the United States authorized to teach by Master Deshimaru, I hope that this book by my brother monk and friend, Phillippe Coupey will help to spread True Zen in the Americas.

Robert Livingston Roshi
Abbot, New Orleans Zen Temple

December 1, 1995

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