Someone asked Master Dôgen:

– Why do say that zazen is the great gate that cannot be by-passed?

For a person considered as one of the greatest philosophers of mankind, Master Dôgen gives an unexpected answer:

– I say that zazen is the grate gate that cannot be by-passed because my master before me said so.

Those who consider zazen from the outside cannot understand. Those who are given explanations do not understand either. You can only understand by sitting in zazen yourself. Zen masters, like Buddha, only teach how to practice. It’s by practicing that we understand, by following the instructions for the practice, that is to say by practicing the true zazen, the zazen taught by the Buddhas.

One very important instruction is that during zazen we are asked not to move, we are asked to protect the silence. The mind must not move – we cannot go on wondering about things and try to find answers. Our inner chattering must stop.

Master Deshimaru used to say: “If you don’t want, if you can’t practice this, you cannot come into the dojo; you must stay outside.” It is for this reason, among others, that there is a gaitan[1]. Of course, those who have duties, who must move, go into the gaitan – but also those who are sick in the mind, who are incapable of inner silence, whose mind moves constantly. People who follow the wanderings of their mind cannot enter the dojo.

He used to add:

Zazen is the ultimate station of our life.

Ultimate meaning here: The highest, the one that cannot be surpassed, the last one, without anything beyond; the station we reach beyond all illusions.

– Why do you say that?

– Because all the masters of the transmission said that.

Taiun JP Faure, February 2022

[1] Gaitan: Literally, an outside platform. A space adjacent to the dojo, where people can sit zazen.

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