FU KANZAZEN GI by Eihei Dogen
The Way is fundamentally perfect. Penetrates everything. How could it depend on practice and realization? The dharma vehicle is free and clear of all obstacles. In what is it necessary to apply the concentrated effort of man? Truly the Great Body is beyond the dust of the world. Who could believe that there is a means of dusting it? It is never different from whatever it is, always exactly where it is. What is the use of going here or there to practice?
However, if there is a fissure, however narrow, the Way is as far away as the earth’s sky. If the least preference or the least antipathy manifests, the spirit is lost in confusion. Imagine those who pretend to understand and who have illusions about their own awakening, glimpsing the wisdom that penetrates all things, unites the Way and clarifies the Spirit and gives rise to the desire to climb heaven itself. This person has undertaken the initial unlimited exploration of the frontal zones but is still insufficiently on the vital Way of absolute emancipation.
Do I need to talk about Buddha, who was in possession of innate knowledge? He still feels the influence of the six years he lived, sitting in a lotus in total immobility. And Bodhidharma, the transmission to our days of the seal, has retained the memory of his nine years of meditation before a wall. If this happened with the saints of antiquity, how can men today be excused from negotiating the Way?
You must therefore abandon a practice based on intellectual understanding, running behind words and adhering to the literal sense. You must learn the turn that directs your light inward, to illuminate your true nature. The body and spirit will be erased by themselves, and your original face will appear. If you want to reach the Awakening, you must practice Awakening without delay.
For Zazen, a quiet room is convenient. Eat and drink soberly. Reject all efforts and abandon all issues. Do not think: “this is fine, this is wrong”. Do not take sides neither for nor against. Stop all movements of the conscious spirit.
Do not judge the thoughts or the perspectives. Do not have any desire to become Buddha. Zazen has absolutely nothing to do with the sitting position or the lying position.
In the place where you have the habit of sitting, spread out a straw mat and put the zafu on top. Sit in lotus or half lotus. In the lotus position, first put the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh.
Take care to loosen your clothes and your belt, arranging them conveniently.
Then put the right hand on the left foot and the left hand directed upwards on the right hand; the ends of the thumbs touch.
Feel right, in the correct body attitude, neither tilted to the left, nor tilted to the right, neither forward, nor backward.
Be careful that the ears are in the same plane as the shoulders and that the nose is in the same vertical line as the navel.
Put your tongue to the palate; the mouth is closed; the teeth touch.
The eyes should always be open, and you should breathe gently through the nose.
When you have achieved the correct posture, breathe deeply once, inspire and expire. Swing the body from right to left and immobilize you in a stable sitting position. Think about not thinking. How do you think about not thinking? Beyond thought (Hishiryo). This is in itself the essential art of Zazen.
The Zazen of which I speak is not the learning of meditation, it is nothing other than the Dharma of peace and happiness, the practice-realization of the perfect Awakening. Zazen is the manifestation of the last reality. Traps and networks can never reach it. Once you have grasped your heart, you are identical to the dragon when it enters the water and identical to the tiger when it enters the mountain. Well, we must know that at this precise moment – when Zazen is practiced – the true Dharma manifests itself and that from the beginning we must separate physical and mental looseness and distraction.
When you get up, move gently and unhurriedly, calmly and deliberately. Do not get up suddenly or abruptly. When one looks at the past, one perceives that the transcendence of enlightenment or non-enlightenment, that dying sitting or standing, has always depended on the vigor of Zazen.
In addition, the opening to the illumination in a given occasion given by a finger, a flag, a needle, a hammer, the fulfillment of the realization thanks to a flycatcher, a fist, a cane, a scream, all that can not be grasped totally by the dualistic thinking of man. In truth, it can not be better known through the exercise of natural powers. That is beyond what man hears and sees, is it not a principle prior to knowledge and perceptions? .
That said, it matters little whether we are intelligent or not. There is no difference between the fool and the clever one. When one concentrates his effort in a single spirit, that in itself is to negotiate the Way. Practice-realization is pure by nature. To advance is a matter of daily life.
Together, this world and the others, both in India and in China, respect the seal of Buddha. The particularity of this school prevails: simply devotion to sitting meditation, sitting motionless in total commitment. Although it is said that there are as many souls as there are men, all negotiate the Way in the same way, practicing zazen. Why leave the seat that is reserved for you in the house to wander in the dusty lands of other kingdoms? A single stumble, and you escape from the Path traced straight ahead of you.
You have had the unique luck to take a human form. Do not waste your time. You bring your contribution to the essential work of the Buddha’s Way. Who would take a vain pleasure in the flame that arises from the silex? Form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fate resembling a lightning bolt – which vanishes in an instant.
I beg you, honored disciples of Zen. Accustomed for a long time to feeling for the elephant in the dark, do not fear the true dragon. Concentrate your energy on the Way that indicates the absolute without deviation. Respect the realized man, who is situated beyond the acts of men. Stand in harmony with the illumination of the Buddhas; succeeds the legitimate dynasty of the Satori of the Patriarchs. Always drive like this and you will be as they are. Your treasure room will open by itself, and you will use it as you see fit.