Jundo Cohen - Treeleaf Zendo · Soto Zen Buddhism

Bodymind Drops Away – Jundo Cohen


The selfish “little self” wants and wishes, weighs and measures, feeling need and lack, seeing good and bad, demarcating friend or foe, with judgments about the past and hopes or fears for the future. It lives in a world of me and you, this, that and the other thing.

In the equanimity and non-seeking of Shikantaza, all that’s desired is sitting itself, sitting whole and complete for sitting’s sake, sitting its own goodness, sitting as life’s pinnacle, all other weighing and judging forgotten, with no future or past beyond this moment of sitting. Ideas and categories of me, you, this and that are forgotten, as the hard borders of inside and outside soften …

… such is mind falling away …

The body sits balanced, stable, poised and comfortable, allowing the body to do its own thing, pouring oneself into the bodily action, the body not of concern much as the heart beats and blood flows without our usual notice or sensation … the whole body no more thought about than the back of the knee or inside of the eye when one’s attention is not drawn there …

… such is body falling away …

The “little self” is softening or fully forgotten, all wants and measures filled and whole, tensions and divisions washed away.

….. bodymind fallen away …

Even if thoughts of the world pass through the mind, they too are light and whole, free of tension and judgment, as simple and embraced as changing images on the surface of a mirror. But, said Master Dogen in a strange phrase of his Zanmai o Zanmai, “There is sitting free of bodymind that is not the same as ‘sitting free of bodymind.’” What might he mean? That we do not merely think about such a phrase, or talk about it, a mere idea of “freed bodymind,” but actually sit and flow, becoming this Zazen that is “sitting free of bodymind.”

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