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.

To take the right posture, one needs be very delicate, with careful attention, total commitment. To take matters in hand without harming oneself. Some people are casual or arrogant enough to believe that they are beyond this practice. In the end, they neglect the most important thing.

To take the right posture of the body-mind, one needs to forget oneself. To forget oneself means to clean off everything that is unnecessary, to drop everything that is unnecessary. This delicate posture, without unnecessary tension, is the posture of the daffodils in spring piercing through the frozen soil. Such is the tension of awakening, without tension.

This right tension occurs when body and mind are unified, when the attention settles on every point of the posture. In those moments, the body is consciousness. Descartes said: “I think therefore I am.” I do not know exactly what he meant. In Zen, beyond thinking, there is consciousness. Consciousness is opened to the infinite. Consciousness is not something, it is a state of mind. The mind does not stop on anything particular, but it embraces totality, it is present to totality.

To attain a vast and boundless consciousness, without defilement, this is the most absolute political act. To get our thoughts out of the rut they are in. To come out of our obsessions. To take a new look at the world, without accusation, without arrogance. This is what mankind needs today to take the right turn, to find the way at the end of the dead end.

Such is the true and authentic spiritual practice, the practice that leads body and mind beyond all our erroneous points of view.

To open one’s heart is to go to the depths of our reality, to get to what we truly are. The body is what is deepest. When there is no body, there is no consciousness. To get to this point where body and mind are in unity, where the mind is cleansed from all erroneous conceptions, where we become aware of reality as it is, where we become aware of our most hidden dysfunctions, where we constantly go beyond what we believe, beyond all superstitions.

I say it again, this is the most absolute political act. It is not easy, but it is not difficult either. To come back to the earth of the mind. Earth is humus. The earth of the mind is to go back to true humility, to the original mind.

To change the way we look at the world. To cleanse our mind from all erroneous points of view, from all erroneous conceptions. To realize this change in our mind is to change the world.

Taiun JP Faure, September 2020

,

Cooperation with all existences

A baby in its mother's womb receives its life without making the slightest effort. It receives its mother's life. Its mother receives the life of the universe. We receive our life from the entire universe at all times. This baby out of the…
, ,

Liberation

Zen is the most direct, simplest form of practicing Buddhism. Zen is nothing other than zazen, meditation without object. To do zazen is to experience regained freedom and in doing so, to taste pure existence. During zazen, we are free because…
,

Faith: Strength and Wisdom

An authentic and just life requires faith. In Buddhism, faith is not faith in something. It is not faith in beliefs or superstitions. It is not believing that an outside power can save us or solve the problem of life and death for us. We ought…

Chosan

Meeting with the abbot

The teacher expounds the Dharma freely in the presence of his disciples, around a cup of tea.
The teaching relates to real-life situations.

A monastery is not great because of its many disciples.
It is great because shosan is practiced daily.
Master Dôgen

Shôsan on engaged Buddhism

The premise of this shôsan is a film, The Venerable W, about a Burmese monk who encourages racism towards Islam. I have reservations about engaged Buddhism that shifts towards politics. That monk, pointing the finger at crimes committed…

Zen and psychoanalysis

" [...] Zen is different: its purpose is not to fix the ego, to make it compatible with society or the others. Zen deals with issues having to do with a whole other nature [...]"

Mondo

Questions and Answers

The mondo is the opportunity, for the disciple, to ask the teacher a question on some aspects of the teaching and how to realise them in daily life.

Teisho

Lectures

The commitment of a nun in the city (Hosetsu Laure Scemama – IZA seminar)

The commitment of a nun in the city (Hosetsu Laure Scemama) There exits several styles of life for a Zen monk or nun. I would like here to present an account of the style of life of a nun who is totally engaged in city life. In Japan,…

Personal experience: the monastic life (Yashô Valérie Guéneau – IZA seminar)

  As you can see, it is possible to live in a monastery for a number of years and remain quite normal! In our Sangha of the AZI certain members imagine that monks and nuns live in a monastery like “extra-terrestrial” beings – austere,…

Zen Monk, Bodhisattva : The Vows of the Candidate for Awakening (Taiun JP Faure – IZA seminar)

Human beings are religious animals. The Absolute is present at the heart of all phenomena of the universe. The entire universe practises the Way, naturally, unconsciously, and automatically. That gives rise to the question that Master…

Frequently Asked Questions

Ask questions

You are welcome to feed this page with questions. So, please feel free to send them to info@kanshoji.org

There is no mind without a body, no body without a mind. They are two aspects of a single reality. When body and mind are unified, we can remain present to ultimate reality, like Buddha Shakyamuni says so well: “The sound that is heard and the one who hears it are instantly forgotten”
That is what we get into the habit of doing in zazen. In other words, regardless of the situation, we are totally open to it, totally available. When we let go of everything that appears on our consciousness, without running away from or rejecting anything, nothing separates us from reality. Body and mind in unity, we become one with all existences in the universe. Being in unity with all existences, we can respond to them with wisdom and compassion.

Zazen is not at the service of anything. Zazen is simply the manifestation of ultimate reality, which has no end per se. Bringing this ultimate dimension within us has the power to change our life… We realise then that our points of view, our conceptions, our interpretations are relative, and that in no case should they be confused with ultimate reality.

A wrong vision of reality leads us to believe that all things in life are permanent, solid; that they have their own existence, independent from the rest. But the opposite is true.
In reality, all things in life are impermanent: they exist in interdependence with all other things, and have no separate existence.

Buddha teaches that we are the cause of our suffering, which comes from our ignorance, greed and aversion. However, he also asserts that we can put an end to our suffering, if we free ourselves from those three defilements, the three poisons.
Ignorance (waywardness):
Not seeing the true nature of life, the true nature of all things, that is to say, Buddha nature. Ignorance stops us from leading our life the right way, harmoniously, because we do not see reality as it is.
Greed (envy):
Neglecting our true nature and that of all things, we do not have access to the satisfying feeling of peace and plenitude. Consequently, we are in a state of frustration and lack, which leads us to look for happiness in material possessions, social status, fame, recognition, etc.
Aversion (anger, violence, hatred…):
Oblivious to the state of awakening, we accuse others; we feel aversion for everything that bothers us; we feel anger and hatred towards the outside world.
It is because we follow the three poisons – often unknowingly – that we entertain relationships with the world which are not right, which prevents our fulfillment and that of others

To practice the Buddha way is to show wisdom and compassion. This can be realised when we become free of the three poisons — ignorance, greed and aversion — and of all the resulting toxic flows. Then, we are no longer locked up in our selfish thoughts, and consequently, no longer separate from other beings. We see the others as they are, with their joys and their sorrows. We feel the desire to help them with their sufferings. Being compassionate is being in unity with the others. The river of giving then flows naturally and freely between all existences. When we are free of the three poisons, the virtue of giving arises naturally. It’s a characteristic of Buddha’s functioning.

Poems

Sagesses Bouddhistes TV broadcast

  • Which place and meaning should monastic life have? (French)
  • The Master-Disciple relation (French)
  • Understanding of Buddhism by Westerners, difficulties and traps (French)
  • The resonance in the Buddha Way (French)
  • The desire of appropriation, source of all the sufferings (French)