dogen and zazen.

The last days i had some discussions about zazen and dogens understanding about it. So i tried to summarize important aspects and the essence that dogen wrote in different texts about the practice of zazen in this context. I excluded the recommended aspects of posture, procedure and circumstances.

Therefore i used Zazengi, Fukanzazengi, Zazen-Yojiji and Zazenshin based on the translations of muho and nishijima roshi:


[…]Let go of all relations, and set all affairs at rest. Do not think of good, donot think of evil. Zazen has nothing to do with the function of intellect, volition, or consciousness, nor with memory, imagination, or contemplation. Do not seek to become a buddha.[…]
Sit stably in samadhi. Think of not-thinking. How do you think of not-thinking? Beyond-thinking. This is the way of doing zazen in accord with the dharma. Zazen is not learning meditation. Rather zazen itself is the dharma-gate of great peace and joy. It is undefiled practice-realization.[…]


The Way is originally perfect and all-pervading. What need is there for practice and realization? The Dharma vehicle is rolling freely. Why should we exhaust our effort? There is no speck of dust in the whole universe. How could we ever try to brush it clean? Everything is manifest at this very place. Where are we supposed to direct the feet of our practice? Now, if you make the slightest discrimination, you will create a gap like that between heaven and earth. If you follow one thing while you resist the other, your mind will be shattered and lost. […] Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Your body and mind will drop away of themselves, and your original face will manifest. If you want to get into touch with things as they are, you – right here and now – have to start being yourself, as you are.[…]
Put aside all involvements and suspend all affairs. Don’t think about “good” or “bad”. Don’t judge true or false. Your mind, intellect, and consciousness are spinning around – let them have rest. Give up measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. […]
Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking. Not thinking: What kind of thinking is that? Letting thoughts go (Nonthinking). This is the essential art of zazen.[…]
Zazen is not a meditation technique. It is simply the Dharma gate of joyful ease, it is practicing the realization of the boundless Dharma way. Here, the open mystery manifests, and there are no more traps and snares for you to get caught in.
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.


Zazen means to clarify the mind-ground and dwell comfortably in your actual nature. This is called revealing yourself and manifesting the original-ground.[…]
In zazen both body and mind drop off. Zazen is far beyond the form of sitting or lying down. Free from considerations of good and evil, zazen transcends distinctions between ordinary people and sages, it goes far beyond judgements of deluded or enlightened. Zazen includes no boundary between sentient beings and buddha. Therefore put aside all affairs, and let go of all associations. Do nothing at all. The six senses produce nothing.
[…] The mind is like the ocean waters, the body like the waves. There are no waves without water and no water without waves; water and waves are not separate, motion and stillness are not different. […]
Now, zazen is entering directly into the ocean of buddha-nature and manifesting the body of the Buddha. The pure and clear mind is actualized in the present moment; the original light shines everywhere. The water in the ocean neither increases nor decreases, and the waves never cease. […]
Vow to cut off all delusions and realize enlightenment. Just sit without doing anything. This is the essence of the practice of zazen.


Experiencing the state in which the words of the great master are like this, we should learn in practice “mountain-still sitting,” and we should receive the authentic transmission of “mountain-still sitting”: this is the investigation of “mountain-still sitting” that has been transmitted in Buddhism. “Thinking in the still-still state” is not of only one kind, but Yakusan’s words are one example of it. Those words are “Thinking the concrete state of not thinking.” They include “thinking” as skin, flesh, bones, and marrow, and “not thinking” as skin, flesh, bones, and marrow.
[…] Having been authentically transmitted like this, “thinking the concrete state of not thinking” is present already. In recent years, however, stupid unreliable people have said, “In the effort of zazen, to attain peace of mind is everything. Just this is the state of tranquility.” This opinion is beneath even scholars of the Small Vehicle.


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