Many people wonder what Buddhism is.
Buddhism is a word invented by Westerners. It’s something very abstract. We should rather speak of the Way of the Buddha – Buddha meaning the awakened one, that which is awakened. One could also say, to satisfy the Western mind, that Buddhism is the religion of awakening. What is put in the first place, what is unsurpassable, is awakening – it is not knowledge or technique.
Awakening is the functioning of the universe. The universe is not based on theories or recipes, it is not based on the mind. Look, for example, at a very young child who was still in his mother’s womb a short time ago. This little child, in no time at all, learns something extremely wonderful: language. He doesn’t have a teacher, we don’t explain the grammar to him. Only by himself, he learns to speak, because his mind is empty of any concept, any expectation, any formatting. Awakening is what allows us to lead our lives in the most just way.
Faced with the sum of advertisements, techniques, knowledge that occupy our minds, with all the more or less true information we receive, we are often lost: “What should we do? What’s right?”. It is important to make room for the totally open mind, the mind that understands things unconsciously. It is important to put awakening first in our lives. The universe functions in the mode of awakening and from eternity it has never encountered a dead end.
In the monastery, everything is done to return to an awakened life. That is, don’t get confused, don’t get upset: “What am I going to eat this morning, how do I dress?” Everything is organised so that we can give ourselves totally to awakening. To access a profound knowledge that I have called the penetrating vision, this vision that makes us understand where things come from and what they entail in time, but also in space. In the end, we must have faith in the awakened state.
To have faith is to practice as we do now in zazen: not to worry about thoughts that come to consciousness of themselves and disappear from consciousness of themselves. Maintaining this awakened state – pure existence, existence without headache, existence without comment, without interpretation, without considerations, without adding to reality our mental divagation.
Keep your head on your shoulders, don’t let your head fall forward. The ears are on the same plane as the shoulders. The tip of the nose is vertical to the navel. Breathing comes and goes freely, by itself. You face reality as it is. You are doing the experience of existence as it is, pure of all minds.
If mental activity exists, do not stagnate upon it, let it appear and disappear, constantly return to an open mind. It is exactly like breathing: the most important thing is that the lungs empty themselves of all stale air, so that when you breathe in, fresh air enters the lungs. It’s the same for the mind. We must abandon all thoughts so that something new appears to our minds all the time. This is what is called in Zen the breathing of the mind, the cosmic breathing. It’s more important than anything else.
Taiun JP Faure, Wednesday 17th of October 2018, 6am zazen