One part of Zen practice is something called a mondo, which means question-and-answer. In my ten years with Deshimaru Roshi I asked very few questions, only three that I can remember. One day in Switzerland he spoke of the number of people who had come to practise Zen after losing some earlier faith or other. […]
My master Taisen Deshimaru Roshi was always asking,” What is most important? Right now, it may be this pain in your knee, this quarrel you are having, this touching of some person you love.” “What is most important” changes all the time. But what is really important? Even the person you love, the person who […]
‘A practice called zazen’, I said. What is a practice? Although I do not know much about Christianity, I should say that the practice of Christianity is prayer and active charity. The essential practice of Zen is zazen. Since there have been human beings, and in a different form even before that, there has been […]
by: Mokuho Guy Mercier : About Shantideva: Shantideva was an eighth century Indian monk highly renowned in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. Like Shakyamuni, he came from a royal family, but renounced his royalty to devote himself to meditation. He was ordained a monk at Nalanda, a monastic university, where he continued to study the sutras, and […]
“To study Zen is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self…“ Dogen Zenji Jean Baby: Sesshin at Bangor. October 1995. “To practise Zen is to know the self.” It’s to be present to ourselves, to be present to our body, and to all that we are beyond our […]
Giuseppe Jisō Forzani has been the Director of the Sōtō Zen Buddhism Europe Office based in Paris since November 2009. He is Italian, and after a turbulent youth practised and studied in Sōtō Zen Buddhist monasteries in Japan, and was ordained there. He is married and has two sons. You are the director of the […]
On Sunday 5th August a ceremony was held at La Gendronnière to commemorate the life of Jean Baby, an elder disciple of Master Deshimaru who died on Jan 1st of this year, aged 90. Jean was the founder of the Dojo of Strasbourg, and also (together with Nancy Amphoux) the founder of the UK branch […]
At a UK sesshin held at Gaunts House in the early 1990’s, during zazen, Jean said, “Please don’t die before me” – Jean had already held his 70th birthday party on Denny’s Barge in Bristol in 1991. Now nearly 20 years later Jean Baby has died after being very ill, unable to walk with damaged […]
This is the first in a series of talks looking at different Buddhist teachings from a Zen perspective. I thought I’d start with the first sermon the Buddha gave, on the Four Noble Truths, look at what he said, and also the Zen attitude to this.
The Sandokai is the work of Master Sekito Kisen (in Chinese: Shítóu Xīqiān) who was born in in southern China in 700 AD and died in 790 AD. This was an era in which Zen grew in popularity and began to emerge as a distinct school with many strong, dynamic personalities like Bodhidharma and Eno.
Transcription of Talk given at Crosby Hall Sesshin 2010
I’m going to speak a little about the origins of Mahayana Buddhism -how it relates to our practice and Dogen’s thinking. I’m going to focus on the ideas that are most relevant to us.
The ideal of Mahayana Buddhism is the bodhisattva. Bodhi means awakening while sattva means existence. The bodhisattva is therefore an awakening being, awakening existence. Awakening is at the heart of all existence.
Often, when I give a talk, somebody asks: “Zen, Buddhism … are they a religion?” And I often reply, “As you like.” You can practise zazen as a technique for well-being, to feel better, to have a more interesting life, to be happier. That’s possible. It is also possible that you will achieve those goals to a greater or lesser extent.
Buddha said “Even if you have committed errors, if for just one single moment you sincerely venerate the kesa, you can become Buddha”. Before we put the kesa on for the first time in the day we place it on our head, making it physically higher than ourselves, and chant this sutra:
The four great vows of the Boddhisattva are a commitment to practise with compassion, awareness and determination.