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.

Enjoy life totally

If you want something other than what the sky sends you, you will encounter difficulties. It is the history of humanity. From the moment you don’t know how to deeply appreciate the situation that falls upon you, you search for something else… and you lose your balance. As soon as we think that it is better elsewhere, that it is better later, we do not make the effort to taste the existence that is given to us.

In Buddhism, we speak of a thirst for more existence. What does it mean: More existence? There is existence, period. We want more sensations, more tastes, tastes more violent, more changing… That’s how societies have become more and more engaged in the race for the ever increasing. The human being is like that. He is inhabited by emotions of greed and aversion; they have been deeply rooted in him since the dawn of time.

“If I was younger, I’d be happier!” That’s what old people think. The young people say, “If I was older, I would be happier.” It is a world of illusions in which the human being is caught and from which they must free themselves if they want to access to unconditional happiness.

The Way of Buddha, the teaching of Buddha proposes to appreciate existence as it is, to go to the bottom of things, as we do now in zazen. “Will it be better later, was it better just before? “These are parasitic thoughts that prevent us from engaging in reality as it is.

If we know how to free ourselves from this thirst for more existence, for more sensations, then we have the possibility to taste the pure existence that pulsates, ever present. If we do not follow our parasitic thoughts, we then give ourselves the means to taste pure existence, pure of any parasite.

This is what we do in zazen. There are many desires, thoughts, emotions that appear but we let them appear and disappear without worrying about them, without following them up; we maintain ourselves in pure existence. It is the experience that Buddha made 2600 years ago, it is the one that we renew now, the experience that frees us from all greed, all fears, all anxieties, that makes us return to the peace of the universe.

In a word, the Way of Buddha- Zen – teaches us to taste our life, to appreciate what is there before us, on our plate, and not to waste our life thinking that it is better on our neighbour’s plate.

Here, now, enjoy life totally, in the deepest sense.

Taiun JP Faure, May 2019

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