Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto…”, sings Mercedes Sosa: Thanks to life that gives me so much, that has given me so much.

Some people cannot resolve to enter life without any weapon or armour, just as they are. We could say that Buddhism is a way to live the human condition without any weapon or armour. To awaken to such as we are is the perfect Way.

To live with an open heart. Of course, the heart is always open, but it is imprisoned between the claws of the three poisons. Living the human condition is something we are all capable of. We are all capable of living reality… on the condition we don’t let the claws of the three poisons imprison us.

Some people run in all directions, are ready to stand on their heads, take drugs… They don’t hear the teaching of Buddha, they don’t have faith. They demand from others, they look everywhere. Just don’t let the brambles invade the path – or if you prefer: hold the three poisons at bay.

Our practice is just this: to sit with our back straight, not be preoccupied with what appears to the consciousness. To not be preoccupied means not to have any intention regarding what appears and disappears. Not to reject, not to refuse, not to struggle if we dislike what appears. Not to try to seize, to grasp, to keep what we like.

This is how we can keep our heart open, our mind open. It is not complicated, but it isn’t easy.

One day, a disciple asked a Zen master: “But in the end, what is Buddhism really, how should it be practiced?” The master replied: “It’s to do good and not to do evil.” The disciple said: “But everybody knows that!” The master replied: “Even if a 7-year-old girl knows it, a ninety-year-old man can’t manage to do it.”

The issue is not to accumulate knowledge, but to practice the normal condition. It is what makes Zazen the heart of Buddhism.

The more we practice Zazen, the deeper our faith goes, our faith in the power of Zazen, the Zazen transmitted by the Buddhas: sitting with our back straight, breathing in and out freely, thoughts appear and disappear by themselves. This is how we free ourselves from our karma, how we return to the normal condition, open to reality as it is, in direct contact with reality as it is, in exchange, in permanent unity with the reality of the whole Universe.

A gateless gate.

Taiun JP Faure, March 2024


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