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True Zen Teachings

Zazen and Satori

by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

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 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.



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