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.

The mind of zazen is the mind of the morning of the world, before the passions, before the flames rise. To awaken with the day which is dawning. Be careful not to let your mind take hold of the usual preoccupations. Maintain the calm of the morning, of the rising day: the mind of the morning of the world.

Just stand up straight and still, doing nothing else. At that moment, as the night slips imperceptibly into the day, your mind awakens.

The mind of the morning of the world is the original mind, the calm mind, before the flames of passions rise, or after they are extinguished. Sometimes it is called the spirit of nirvana, when we appease the flames of our anger, when we understand the roots of our anger, then the anger turns into compassion. This is the experience of nirvana- nirvana meaning the extinction of all flames, all afflicting passions, all toxic flows of thoughts.

Also, in zazen, if your mind starts to wander, do not follow it in its wanderings. Maintain yourself in the reality where the night transforms itself into day, or the day transforms itself into night; where birth transforms itself into death, where death transforms itself into birth. Because of course in the ultimate reality, when we let go of all our conceptions, there is neither birth nor death, but a permanent continuum, a continuous transformation.

When we stand before words appear, we experience all things: this is called nirvana, the extinction of all that causes suffering. Birds plunge into the sky, fish glide in the ocean, wise men frolic in nirvana. So don’t move. Don’t cling to your little difficulties. Keep calm and stillness, with your eyes wide open. Let all things appear and disappear.

Taiun JP Faure, at Kanshoji, August 2019

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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

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