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True Zen Teachings

Zen is Not Asceticism

by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi. Friday December 5, 1980.

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 hardon." This is a Japanese proverb.

How do we understand this?. How can one know if he gets a hardon or not? With women how can you tell?

Get a hardon 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.



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