Monday, June 15, 2009

Zazen for the Mentally Unstable

"Zazen for the Mentally Unstable" number 76 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

Zenkei Shibayama Roshi said, "Zazen is for the person whose mental health is especially vigorous." In other words zazen is not for wimps. Anyone who has done a traditional sesshin can confirm this.

Yesterday I went to a talk by Reverend Zensho Roberson, a priest in the Soto Zen Order of Buddhist Contemplatives from St. Maries, Idaho. Beautiful. The short zazen period was impressive in its stillness. The room was crowded and there was a wide level of sitting experience. Kinhin was a bit awkward but it worked. Next time I'll record the talk and maybe suggest we chant "On Opening the Dharma" and do "Great Vows" at the end. We were a bit informal but it worked. Thank you to the cosmos!

Zensho Roberson talked eloquently and concretely about Dogen's instruction from the Genjokoan.

To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.

There is a ton to work with just in these few sentences.

I found a surprisingly geeky resource for studying the Genjokoan. Eight English translation of the Genjokoan all together in a single document. What is especially geeky about this setup is that for each stanza in each translation there is on the right direct links to the same stanza in all of the other translations. So any stanza can be easily and quickly be compared and contrasted with any other translation. Super cool.

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on
Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.

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