Thursday, 16 August 2018

"Zazen is not Shuzen"

Last night we looked at the first of two articles by Rev Issho Fujita, currently Director of the Soto Zen International Center in San Fransisco (pictured right), which were shared by Matthew Gindin on his Blue Waters, Blue Mountains blog a few years back (but I only came across them this week!). They were originally published in Dharma Eye (vol 28: link to original).

Rev Fujita's discussion is about what constitutes 'true' zazen, as opposed to shuzen, meditation practised in order to cultivate some special state of mind. He talks about his experience with other forms of meditation and contrasts them to the zazen of Bodhidharma and Dogen.

Link to the post is:

We only looked over the first half during our tea-and-biccies post-zazen chat, and will have a crack at the second half in a few weeks. Quite what zazen, shikantaza is, can be difficult to express verbally ("just do it"!). Rev Fujita quotes the inimitable Uchiyama Roshi, who called it: "an effort to continuously aim at a correct sitting posture with flesh and bones and to totally leave everything to that." There's the challenge - just to leave it alone! It reminds me of the classic developmental psychology experiment in which children as left alone in a room with some sweeties in front of them, and are asked not to eat them... that if they manage not to eat them, they'll get more sweeties when the experimenter returns. How hard it is to leave the sweeties alone... how much harder to leave our minds alone in our seated practice.