The teaching in Kanshoji

In Sôtô Zen, the teaching is transmitted from person to person.

At Kanshoji, it is given by Taiun Jean-Pierre Faure, who received the Dharma transmission from Dônin Minamisawa Roshi, vice-zenji of Eiheiji zen temple.

 Taiun Jean-Pierre Faure’s teaching is based on that of Shakyamuni Bouddha rewritten at each period. It takes the different traditional forms of sôtô zen (see page Sôtô zen buddhism). All the teachings are translated into English.

Kusen

Oral teaching given during zazen

Kusen is the oral teaching given by the teacher during zazen.

It is not literature. Sentences are simple, short and straightforward. The kusen speaks to the deep part of the brain, to the heart of the disciple, who should not try to grasp it intellectually.

Putting out the fire in our heads

Shakyamuni Buddha already said in his time: The world is in flames. So we must put out the fire in our heads, the flames of passions.

In 2002, at a world conference, a head of state said: Our house is burning and we are looking elsewhere. 

Master Deshimaru told us: You are all crazy. We’re all crazy, but I’m a little less crazy. 

So it’s a mental health problem. We don’t see our madness. Everyone says to themselves: the other is crazy, but not me. Yet the choices we make, the behaviors we have, should show us our madness. 

A master says to his disciple: Do you hear the murmur of the wind? Enter the Way that way. 

That is concentration: wash your mind with the pure sound of the present. 

From there – with an open, clear, pure mind -, from concentration, it is observation. Not scientific observation. It is observation without using the intellect, without analyzing, without commenting, without interpreting. Only to see its dysfunctions. At most, identify them. To see that we are beings of passion and that we cannot let passions devour all life. Then to put out the fire that burns in our heads.

If we do not see our madness, it is difficult to correct it. If we still think it is the fault of others, we cannot progress. We have not started the path of emancipation, the path of liberation.

Some people are always angry, always accusing others, hitting others. The others only trigger our madness. It’s hard for some to hear. Yet it is the truth. These are the same people who see only one solution: to profit, to enjoy, to distract themselves, without looking at the consequences of their choices. 

Master Dôgen says: “He who forgets, even for a moment, the I, the I and mine, and returns to the sublime solitude, this one manifests the real form of the spirit of awakening.”

Sublime solitude is when the mind unites with the body, when the body and mind become one. In contrast to the dualistic, scientific attitude where there is the one who observes and what is observed. Master Dôgen does not talk about destroying the self; it is not possible. He who lets everything appear and disappear, without worrying about it, this one manifests the real form of the awakening mind, washes his mind and, from there, sees. Contemplate the process of causes and conditions that transform into consequences, which themselves are causes and conditions, and this to infinity. 

Master Dōgen tells us: Used to groping for the elephant in the shadows, do not fear the real dragon. Accustomed to fiddling around your thoughts with intelligence – thoughts that are only representations of reality- access what you really are, that is, thoughts that come from the non-thought, like the dragon that rises from the bottom of the oceans to the highest point in the sky and instantly returns to the ocean… 

Some people walk with their heads down, always chewing thoughts, fiddling with their point of view, spreading it. It is about mental health for the survival of the universe, for the survival of humanity; he who forgets, even for a moment, the I, the me and mine, and returns to sublime solitude, this one manifests the true form of the spirit of awakening.

In Zen, what is proposed is to verify by oneself, by practice, but not to remain in the intellect, to add intellect to the intellect, by developing your apriori, your fears. Criticism in Buddhism is living criticism: it is to experience it. 

So return to the pure sound of the present. Give up the I, the I and mine. Return to the original mind, washed of all conception.

Taiun JP Faure, in Kanshoji, July 2019

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