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True Zen Teachings

Zazen, Mushotoku

Kusen by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

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 prajna: 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.

Source: Bulletin Zen. AZI Paris. Assembled by Raphaël Triet.


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