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.


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.

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 womb receives its mother’s milk. His mother gives him his life, she gives him all her love. As this baby grows up, it will become an adult and in turn it will give its life to all existences.

Buddha’s teaching accompanies us in this inescapable evolution. We receive life and in turn we give life. Our life is an exchange, an interdependence, a cooperation with the whole universe.

In some countries, children work from an early age. Sometimes at the age of twelve, they bring their contribution to their family, to their village. In the past in Europe, you were an adult at 21 years of age. Today, it’s 18. Some people ask that it be at 16.

In any case, the adult form of the human being is to be at the service of other existences at the same time as other existences are at our service. Wanting to remain like a baby, sucking the life of others without giving anything, this is not the normal condition. “I don’t want to give anything to others, I only think of myself…” It is to deviate from the normal condition and make others suffer, as well as oneself.

The last thing I want to do is make you feel guilty. The Buddha never used the energy of guilt to make his disciples evolve. It even says in the sutras that guilt is poison. It is only a matter of seeing the obvious, of accessing a gaze cleansed of the three poisons, of deciding for oneself if we are interested in this gaze cleansed of the three poisons. If it is the case, the way to liberate ourselves from it is to go through the right posture of the body-mind, when the body and the mind are in unity, as now in zazen.

When you bring your attention in every point of the posture, when you stretch the lower back, that you unroll from the back to the top of the head, that you press the ground with the knees, that you push the sky by pressing the ground, that you do that with an infinite delicacy and in a continuous way, without interruption, you see by yourself with the body and the mind that all the phenomena are empty. You see that they exist only because of impermanence and interdependence and that all the comments you add to this reality, all the images you make of this reality, all the interpretations, most of the time are not necessary. They are not necessary to access the essential, which is precisely to be in unity with all existences, to be in an unconscious, fair exchange with all existences.

You understand then that all your mental secretions are an obstacle to true love, that they are only calculations motivated most of the time by selfish interest. This is how you gladly come back to unite with reality, how you bring your mind back to every point of the posture. As the great master Bodhidharma said, “Rushing to unite with mystery…” It’s the most wonderful thing.

With eagerness, to unite with the mystery, the unknowable… What a marvel!

Taiun JP Faure, August 2020

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