SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi LXVII

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Nishijima Roshi describes Buddhism as a positive, joyful, optimistic philosophy. It does not have that image to many people, who see it as a means of escape from all emotions, pleasing or not. It just is not so.

Zazen is (usually) pleasant, joyful and filled with sensations of peace and contentment. On the contrary, one might think that "not seeking", and our accepting this crazy world "just-as-it-is", would lead to some empty neutrality, dull blankness, emotional coldness or 'stiff upper lip' stoicism. But it is not so.

Zazen is the Pleasure that manifests in pausing in our constant search for pleasure, the Peace of halting a struggle to make the world 'the way I want it to be'. It is a Joy found in releasing all clinging to 'joy', and a willingness to let joy go. It is the Contentment that arises by floating along midstream in this tumultuous life 'as it is'.

Yes, pleasure and joy, peace and contentment are (usually) part and parcel of Zazen. The non-seeking for treasure is where unexpected treasure is found.

However, one should not be attached to even that Pleasure, Joy, Peace and Contentment. We must be content in Zazen even when an experience -not- pleasant, joyful, peaceful or filled with feelings of contentment. Then we must remind ourselves that merely sitting Zazen, crossing the legs and straightening the back, is already Satori itself.

That is True Contentment. That is True Pleasure, Joy and Peace.


(There is an old, ascetic tradition in Japan of Zazen or chanting under a freezing waterfall. Today was my much dumber version. It was fine until the garden hose went up my nose. Of course, when the kids finally put the wash bucket on my head, the world became very still and quiet. I recommend Zazen in a bucket to everyone.)


What is called sitting-Zen is not learning Zen meditation. It is just a peaceful and effortless gate to reality. It is practice-and-experience which perfectly realizes the Buddha's enlightenment. The Universe is realized, untouched by restrictions or hindrances. To grasp this meaning is to be like a dragon that has found water, or like a tiger before a mountain stronghold. Remember, true reality is naturally manifesting itself before us, and gloom and distraction vanish at a stroke. [NISHIJIMA]


The zazen I speak of is not meditation practice. It is simply the dharma gate of joyful ease, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the koan realized; traps and snares can never reach it. If you grasp the point, you are like a dragon gaining the water, like a tiger taking to the mountains. For you must know that the true dharma appears of itself, so that from the start dullness and distraction are struck aside. [SZTP]


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