"Dogen teaches us that Buddhism is just to practice Zazen, and to practice Zazen is Buddhism." - Roshi Nishijima.
"Only people who have experienced, in the mountain still state, the Zazen that is different from thinking, are able to grasp it." [Dogen, in Shobogenzo, Vol 4, p 247]
Zazen is another word for Zen contemplation (ie meditation), Zazen is the training in sitting and contemplating as hinted at below - and it is a very basic exercise in Zen: "Zazen is Zen, and Zen is Zazen," said Zen roshi Dogen. And:
The Tathagatas [Arrivers] of the past, present, and future and the patriarchs in India and China have also attained enlightenment through zazen. [Dogen in the "Bendowa" chapter of the Shobogenzo]
More of Dogen
Give up even the idea of becoming a Buddha.
There are innumerable ways of understanding Buddhism,
Having started from his outskirts he joins the way, but he has hardly begun -
You may use a sitting posture (zazen) - or a lying posture.
Just the sitting practice and that only
Maybe Soto Zen is thought of as a Japanese tradition, but it was imported from China by Dogen in the early 1200s. Furthermore, it is said to be essentially the same as the Mahamudra (Great Symbol) teachings of Northern Buddhism:
A useful and succinct formula of comparison for Chinese Zen and Tibetan Mahamudra is that Zen is esoteric Mahamudra and Mahamudra is exoteric Zen. - Professor Chen-chi Chang [Tiy xxxix - More on it]
By sitting calmly and comfortably, one is to go beyond thinking by observing serenely. Nothing is sought, not even enlightenment. Just the sitting practice is to be held on to.
For beginners: do it for at least ten to fifteen minutes (preferably 25) every day.
Zen serenity and furtive living stem from recognizing things for what they are - in tune with: "Don't ever let others condition you." [Zuigan]
Dogen wrote an essential guide for Zen training - it is included in the English Shobogenzo translation too. [Shz; Szd; Szi; Szm; Szp] ◊
Zazen gazing can melt away certain mind-forged distances.
From inside, from deep inside is the best
You had better do the sitting in a quiet room. One session is to last about 30-35 minutes eventually.
Gladness from deep inside is called Giu-Zamhai in Zen. It is happiness from within that warms your heart. It is attuned to the real essence of our life. Buddha thought that Giu-Zamhai was to be reckoned with too. In fact, he taught Giu-Zamhai, gladness of being, a felicity which comes from inside of us. Thus, feel that you are alive and experience how bright the world can seem. ◊
Train yourself in watching the natural flow of breath too
Train and exert yourself in breath-watching, and go on from there - investigate and probe well - and know yourself too.
Dog: Masunaga, Reiho, tr. A Primer of Soto Zen. A Translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo Zuimonki. Honolulu: University Press, 1975.
Shz: Cleary, Thomas, tr. Shobogenzo: Zen Essays by Dogen. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.
Sth: Nearman, Hubert, tr. Shobogenzo: The Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching. Mount Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey Press, 2007. Online
Szd: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 1. Woking, Surrey (UK): Windbell Publications, 1994.
Szi: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. London: Windbell Publications, 1996.
Szm: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 3. London: Windbell Publications, 1997.
Szp: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 4. London: Windbell Publications, 1999.
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