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Go for the root...
Harada Roshi

Teisho on Hakuin Zenji´s Song of Zazen #3

Today I will explain about the practice of zazen. The text Zazengi teaches us, if we want to sit, we should extinguish all distractions from the outside. Humans are involved in the outside, yet all these connections are what we should let go of. We do so many things all day long, yet if we take the time to sit zazen, we should stop being involved in other matters. To sit is the purpose and when this ripens, even when we work, it should be the same state of mind as of sitting zazen.


At the beginning this essence is not easy to grasp, this is not possible. Daitokokushi, a deeply developed person of training was able to write in a poem:
Sitting in meditation
One sees people
Crossing and re crossing the bridge
Just as they are.


The people passing right in front of him it is as if he is sitting in the deep mountain, as if there are many trees right in front of him being reflected. To be able to experience this state of mind, a deep experience is needed. A beginner will follow along with what he sees, with what he hears, his mind being busy and moving from one side to the other, becoming dull and unclear in mind. This is losing the meaning of zazen, we cannot pretend only and do it in a half baked way.


The teaching of the Buddha is only about kensho, about awakening to one´s own true self. We do not exist as a self, rather kensho is when we let go of all connections, not a single thing we hold onto in our mind, no dust left in heaven and earth, we do not get stopped by anything, there is nothing but to awaken to this.
The Buddha threw away his family, his country, his happiness as well just for this experience. The Buddha had let go of all connections and entered the mountains.
Bodhidarauma at the high age of 140 went to China so that each person may experience their true mind, then and only then can all people in society become liberated. That was his only purpose of coming to China, all sutras had already come to China, yet this reality of experience cannot be talked about in the sutras, only each person can experience this.


Zazen needs this determination to throw all away, to let go of all, or else we will get squashed by the heaviness of the ego. Our mind is not so simple, even when we just sit, thoughts arise, we have unclarity arise as well, this is where we get stuck and cannot actually practice true zazen.

All connections, to our families, to our countries, to good and bad, like and dislike, joy and sadness, gain and loss – this difference between the things needs to be let go of. That is why Bodhidharuma said, we need to sit in a way that our mind becomes like a firm tall wall.
All those many distractions from the outside are being cut off, and we keep facing within, where all sorrows and thoughts that may arise, we will not get onto those waves, we do not get stopped or moved around by them, we simply sit like a firm wall, if we enter this state of mind, then for the first time we meet our true being.


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