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(BENDOWA XI)

Master Dogen continues to tell us that “Zazen” ( that’s Zen meditation ) is all we need … enlightenment itself …

And that means we don’t need to bother with all that other Buddhist stuff … like burning incense, ringing bells, bowing, chanting, worrying about the Precepts or even reading Buddhist books. All we need is Zazen, sitting on our cushion.

But ya know … we are always working on a few different ways of seeing things here. So, at other times, Dogen reminds us, we think of Zazen ‘Zen Meditation’ in its wider meaning … namely, all of life. At those times, ‘Zen Meditation’ also means burning incense, ringing bells, bowing, chanting, worrying about the Precepts or even reading Buddhist books.

Each action is, in that moment, ‘Zen Meditation’, and in that moment, all we need, a perfect act, the place to be. 

See how that goes?

And it is true for all our lives … making breakfast for the kids, typing on the keyboard at work, paying the gas bill, washing the supper dishes … all ‘Zen Meditation’ in its wider meaning …

… and in that moment, all we need, a perfect act, the place to be. 

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In China, although scriptures werecontinuously introduced and spread since the later Han dynasty (first centuryBCE), still no one could determine which was most essential. After the FirstAncestor came from the West, the roots of the entanglements were cut, and theone buddha-dharma pervaded. We cannot help but yearn for this to happen in ourcountry as well. For all ancestors and buddhas who have been dwelling in andmaintaining buddha-dharma, practicing upright sitting in jijuyu zanmai [the samadhi, the stillabiding taste of the self in self-fulfillment]is thetrue path for opening up enlightenment. Both in India and in China, those who haveattained enlightenment have followed this way. This is because each teacher andeach disciple has been intimately and correctly transmitting this subtle methodand receiving and maintaining its true spirit. According to the unmistakenlyhanded-down tradition, the straightforward buddha-dharma that has been simplytransmitted is supreme among the supreme. From the time you begin practicingwith a teacher, the practices of incense burning, bowing, nembutsu, repentance,and reading sutras are not at all essential; just sit, dropping off body andmind.


From: Talk on the Wholehearted Practice of the Way -Kosho Uchiyama (with Shohaku Okumura, Taigen Daniel Leighton)


(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

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