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Thread: SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Master Menzan's JIJUYU-ZANMAI

  1. #1

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Master Menzan's JIJUYU-ZANMAI

    A talk on Master Menzan Zuiho's JIJUYU-ZANMAI ...

    ... the still abiding taste of the self in self-fulfillment ...

    It is available as a downloadable audio file from TREELEAF Podcast ...

    ... or even better, please sit all our Zazenkai this month (or the talk is from the 1:52:00 mark, lasts about 30 minutes or so) ...

    So, who was Menzan? An important reformer of Soto Zen in the 18th Century, revivalist of Dogen, and somewhat controversial figure in some quarters. Here is a little about him, followed by the passages of JIJUYU-ZANMAI we'll be with today, part of a much longer text. It is a wonderful "how to" on the art of Shikantaza. If you are interested, here is a LINK to the full writing (translation by Shohaku Okumura)

    * * *

    Menzan Zuihō (面山瑞方, 1683-1769) was a Japanese Sōtō Zen scholar and abbot of the Zenjo-ji and Kuin-ji temples active during the Tokugawa era. Menzan's scholarship was part of the Tokugawa movement of returning to original historical sources to revitalize Zen (復古. "fukko" - "return to the old"), especially the works of Dōgen Zenji. Before Menzan the works of Dōgen were not widely studied or put into practice, and he helped revitalize the Sōtō school by analyzing and building on Dogen's writings. Menzan used Dōgen to promote a reform of the Sōtō sect, which included reforming the monastic code and meditation practice. Due to Menzan's efforts, Dōgen studies now occupies a central position in Sōtō Zen thought.Menzan was also involved in lecturing to the public and teaching laymen and laywomen meditation practice. One of his most famous works, the Buddha Samadhi (Jijuyu Zanmai) is addressed to laypeople and focuses on the teachings of Dōgen.

    BOLDFACE highlights by Jundo. The text is a little complicated, so I recommend printing and reading along with the talk.


    Jijuyu-zanmai (The Self-Fulfilliing Samadhi / The still abiding taste of the self in self-fulfillment)
    by Menzan Zuiho Osho

    Although a great many people practice zazen ... those who understand Jijuyu-zanmai as the true enlightenment of all Buddhas are very few. That is why some hurry on their way to gain enlightenment by wrestling with koans. Some struggle within themselves, searching for the subject that sees and hears. Some try to rid themselves of their delusory thoughts in order to reach a pleasant place of no-mind, no-thought. Many other methods of practicing zazen were advocated by various teachers in the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties in China. …

    Koan practice started in Song dynasty China. There was no such practice during the time of Bodhidharma or Eno, the Sixth Patriarch. The tradition of koan practice did not originate with Seigen or Nangaku. It was established by and based on the biased ideas of the masters of the Song dynasty. …

    Searching for the subject that sees and hears is also useless. The harder you look for the subject, the more you will tire of wastefully struggling, since what is seeking and what is being sought cannot be separated. Understand that your eyes cannot see themselves.

    Arousing the mind to eliminate illusory thoughts is like pouring oil on a fire to extinguish it. The fire will blaze with increased strength.

    People in the present day often practice zazen in this manner. … They aspire to rid themselves of delusions and to gain enlightenment; to eliminate illusory thoughts and to obtain the truth. This is nothing but creating the karma of acceptance and rejection. Such an attitude is just another form of dualism, in that one escapes from one thing and chases after another … mere methods to rid oneself of delusions and to obtain enlightenment. What a pitiful view! …

    The true zazen which has been transmitted by the Buddhas and Patriarchs is the Tathagata's Jijuyu-zanmai. ... Obviously, zazen is not a practice for getting rid of delusions and gaining enlightenment. … We must learn Bodhidarma's teaching thoroughly. What is his teaching? -- To live facing the wall unwaveringly and to see that ordinary people and sages are one and the same. We must also study carefully the words of the Second Patriarch, "Always be clearly aware**."

    **[This phrase is found in a dialogue between Bodhidharma and Eka from the Keitoku-Dentóroku. Bodhidharma said, "Outwardly, stop engaging in any affairs, and inwardly, do not grasp with your mind. When your mind is like a wall, you will be able to enter the Way."

    Eka said, "I have already stopped engaging in outside affairs." Bodhidharma said, "Have you not destroyed your mind?" Eka said, "No, I haven't." Bodhidharma said, "How do you know that?" Eka said, "I am always clearly aware."]

    In the Shôdôka we find the expression, "Being aware of reality, there is neither subject nor object, and we are immediately released from the karma of the hell of incessant suffering." When you sit in this samadhi, you will enter directly into the realm of the Tathagata. Therefore, this samadhi is endowed with the limitless virtue of the roots of goodness, and the limitless obstructions of one's evil deeds caused by evil karma will disappear without a trace. As this samadhi is truly the incomparable, great dharma-wheel, and the practice of ever going beyond buddhahood, it is beyond words and discriminating thoughts.


    Now I will explain in detail the way to clarify and rely on this samadhi. This is done simply by not clouding the light of your Self. When the light of the Self is clear, you follow neither konchin (dullness, passivity) nor sanran (distraction, running toward). The Third Patriarch said, "When the cloudless light illuminates itself, there is no need to make mental struggle, there is no waste of energy." This is the vital point of the practice and enlightenment of this samadhi. "The cloudless light illuminates itself" means the light of the Self shines brightly. "Not to make mental struggle" means not to add the illusory mind's discrimination to the reality. When you make mental struggle, the light becomes illusory mind and brightness becomes darkness. If you do not make mental struggle, the darkness itself becomes the Self illumination of the light. This is similar to the light of a jewel illuminating the jewel itself. For example, it is like the light of the sun or the moon illuminating everything-mountains and rivers, human beings and dogs, etc. equally, without differentiation or evaluation. Also, a mirror reflects everything without bothering to discriminate. In this jijuyu-zanmai, just keep the light [of the self] unclouded without being concerned with discrimination of objects. …

    When you practice and learn the reality of zazen thoroughly, the frozen blockage of illusory mind will naturally melt away. If you think that you have cut off illusory mind, instead of simply clarifying how illusory mind melts, illusory mind will come up again, as though you had cut the stem of a blade of grass or the trunk of a tree and left the root alive. This is very natural.


    In both China and Japan from medieval times to the present, there have been innumerable teachers of Zen who never learned about reality from a true teacher. They mistakenly thought that anihilating thoughts in the mind is the authentic practice of the buddha-dharma. This is because they grasped only the surface meaning of the words and held on to one-sided views. Although one mind may become the three poisonous minds, and the three poisonous minds may bring about the six realms of good or evil, all of them are only provisional conditions within our mind. There is no reason to banish them.

    Nevertheless, when our mind is good, we become stiffened by good intention and attached to the limited results of the three good realms. Consequently, we become blind to the light which is beyond goodness. When our mind is evil, we become stiffened by evil intention and pulled by the results of the three evil realms. Consequently, we suffer and cannot be aware of the light which is beyond evil. When we are in the condition of no-thought, we stagnate there because we think it a desirable stage of mind. Consequently, we become like Hinayana or non-Buddhist practitioners who never gain buddhahood. We fail to realize the light beyond no-thought. When we transcend the dichotomies of good and evil, thought and no-thought, and emit the light of the Self, settling beyond discrimination, we will not stagnate in goodness though our mind be good. Nor will we attach ourselves to evil, or to the stage of no-thought even though our mind be in that condition. Therefore, even when our mind becomes evil, if the light of beyond-thought is emitted, evil mind will be dropped off immediately, and there will be only the light of the Self. This is the way to lead people in the three evil realms to annuttara-sammyak-sambodhi (ultimate awareness). The same occurs to the people dwelling in the three good realms too, and allows them to step over into ultimate awareness. …This is called the great light, Buddha's wisdom, or prajna paramita.


    When I lived in the western part of Japan (Kyushu)165, there were some lay people who earnestly studied and prac¬ticed zazen, which is the be-all and end-all of the Buddhas and Patriarchs. They wanted to read the words of the ancient masters as a guide for their practice-enlightenment. … For this reason, I wrote the Jijuyu-Zanmai, and offered it to them. … I hope this will be helpful for lay people in their practice.

    The second year of Genbun during the season of the orchids [September 28, 1737]
    The abbot of Kuinji in Wakasa
    Menzan Zuiho
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-08-2015 at 02:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Wonderful talk Jundo, thank you. =)



  3. #3

    Thank you.

    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  4. #4
    Thank you!



  5. #5
    Thank you


    Sat Today

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