How to Practice · Jundo Cohen - Treeleaf Zendo

Jundo Cohen – Roshi – Zazen (2)

May I add a codicil to my prior post, as some folks seem to have misunderstood my point a bit, that sitting Zazen is not necessary? In fact, it is not necessary … thus it is necessary to sit!

We sit beyond all time, and it is not necessary to sit at all … thus we sit each day facing the wall for a certain time. Please don’t think that it is not necessary to sit Zazen if physically able, even though it is not necessary to sit at all (Yes, this is a Koan). There is no “long or short” to Zazen, but sometimes it is good to go to Sesshin or Ango (if one can within life circumstances) to let the self sit long and hard seeking to attain that “nonattaining” beyond long or short, sitting some days while putting aside time and the calendar. Yet if one cannot get to Sesshin or Ango, that is fine too because Zazen is found everywhere, on and off the cushion and right in the city streets and daily life (yes, the same Koan).

Zazen is not a matter of time, so we sit for a certain time each day putting aside all thought of time.

In Shikantaza, we sit radically as this Original Buddha, nothing to attain, nothing in need of doing. The Sitting of Zazen itself is Total Fruition, no other act to do, no other place to be or where one can be. Thus, one attains Total Fruition that is “not attaining,” Buddha sitting Buddha, and our inner desires and Dukkha based on “I need to do” are finished and done with as one realizes that aspect of life “never in need of doing.” There is nothing about this world or ourselves or this moment that is in need of fixing from the start. Then, getting up from the cushion, we return to a world of things to do, places to go, problems in desperate need of repair … but with this “no thing to do, no place to go, nothing in need of fixing” felt in the bones. In this way of living life, we learn to do without doing, go without going, fix what cannot be fixed. We learn to birth without birthing, die without dying!

All of life is Zazen, walking sitting standing running or standing on one’s head. Yet, I sit on the cushion each day for the stillness of silent sitting lets me better know this fact. (Up is down too, so no problem to stand on one’s head, but less chance to topple over in the Lotus or Burmese!) While there is stillness in moving, it is sometimes hard to know while always moving moving, running chasing in this hectic life. So, I sit still then get up and move. In doing so, moving running chasing is just stillness. This hectic life is silence itself.

Thus, Zazen is not a matter of time, so we sit a certain time each day.

Gassho, J

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