Zazen

ZAZEN: QUIET ABODE

There’s nothing mysterious, nor complicated in zen. Practice is very simple: zazen, only sitting, looking inside of yourself, learning to know our own self and, letting go of our little ego, harmonizing us with our true nature.
It is wisdom, that enters and joins with wisdon from the door of silence, and that goes beyond the desire of profit.

During zazen, thought doesn’t stop, we become conscious of its presence and let it pass. In this way we create a space of liberty, and our conscience is limitless and endless.

Posture

To practice zazen sit on a zafu (round cushion), stay straight with the spinal column upward. Cross your legs in the lotus, half-lotus or Burmese position, so that the knees are firmly and deeply seated. Push your head towards the sky and your knees to the ground.
The fingers of your left hand are inside the right hand, thumbs gently touch, and your hands should lay on your lower abdomen. The chin moves inward, and the head is straight, the nose is vertical to the navel, shoulders are relaxed and the eyes look downward.

Conscience

Hishiryo: thought that goes beyond thought, it’s zazen’s conscience, which goes beyond judgment. This conscience is Mushotoku: without goal and profit, material or spiritual. When the spirit doesn’t dwell on anything, the true spirit appears. Zazen practice makes us understand the impermanent aspect of thoughts, we awaken to the illusion of existing as separate beings and become unified with the cosmos, beyond our ego.

SANSHIN: THE THREE MINDS

In Japanese, Sanshin means "three minds." Dogen Zenji recommended that a person working to benefit Buddha's family, or sangha, should maintain three mental attitudes: Magnanimous Mind (daishin), Nurturing Mind (roshin), and Joyful Mind (kishin). .

DAISHIN Magnanimous Mind is like an ocean or a mountain: calm and steady, yet accepting and nourishing countless beings and situations without differentiation. The ocean is serene because it accepts the many rivers without resisting.
ROSHIN Nurturing Mind, literally "old mind", is akin to the attitude of a kindly grandmother or parent who delights in caring for others. It is the spirit of the bodhisattva, the fully mature person.
KISHIN Joyful Mind is the joy that comes from deep in our hearts even in the midst of difficulty. It arises from the insight of zazen, that we live together with all beings and are not separate.

Together, the three minds form the basis of a Buddhist community. When grounded in zazen, these three mental attitudes allow us to live and work in harmony with others at all times.

THE SEVEN POINTS OF PRACTICE

Offered by Kosho Uchiyama-roshi in the last formal talk he gave at Antai-ji, on February 23, 1975.

  1. Study and practice the Buddha-dharma only for the sake of the Buddha-dharma, not for the sake of human emotions and worldly ideas.
  2. Zazen is the most venerable and only true teacher.
  3. Zazen must work concretely in our daily lives as the two practices (vow and repentance), the three minds (magnanimous mind, parental mind, and joyful mind), and as the realization of the saying, "Gaining is delusion, losing is enlightenment."
  4. Live by vow and root it deeply.
  5. Realizing that development and backsliding are your responsibility alone, endeavor to practice and develop.
  6. Sit silently for ten years, then for ten more years, and then for another ten years.
  7. Cooperate with one another and aim to create a place where sincere practitioners can practice without trouble.

 

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