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.

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


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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.


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)