Comunidad Budista Sotozen

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The attitude of our conscience

The attitude of the spirit flows in a natural way from a deep concentration on the posture and the breathing.

During zazen the cerebral cortex rests and the conscient flux of thoughts is stopped, while the blood flows towards the deepest layers of the brain. Being better irrigated, our brain awakens from a semi-sleep and its activity gives the impression of well-being, calm and serenity, close to a deep sleep, but in full wakefulness. Our nervous system relaxes, the primitive brain begins its activity. We are receptive, attentive, in the highest degree, through all the cells of our body. We think with our body, unconsciously, without using energy.

It is not as if we wanted to stop our thoughts, what would be even worse, but we should let them go as clouds in the sky, or the reflections on a mirror, without opposing them, without becoming attached to them. By doing so, shadows will go and fade. Little by Little, once the images of our subconscious have appeared and disappeared, we reach our deep subconscious, with no thoughts at all, further than any other thought, hishiryo, true purity.

Hishiryo is the state of conscience that characterises Zen. Shiryo is the thought itself. Fushiryo is the no- thought.

Hishiryo is the absolute thought, further to the thought and no-thought. Beyond dualities, oppositions or contraries. Beyond all the problems of the personal conscience. It is our Original Nature, or Buddha Nature or Cosmic Unconscious.

When the intellect empties and becomes serene, calm, nothing can stop the deep, intuitive, unlimited lifestream that arises from the deepest part of our being, and it is previous to any other thought. This is the eternal flux of the activity of the Whole.

Our spirit contains the whole cosmos. Conscience is faster than light.

Being seated, with no goal, it can be understood mushotoku and hishiryo, secrets of the essence of Zen. But this understanding is different from the one of common sense or the intellect. It is direct perception.

Mushotoku is the philosophy of no-benefit, not wanting to acquire anything. It is the essential principle of Zen. To give without expecting anything in return. To abandon everything without fear of losing. To turn our sight toward the inner of ourselves. In the same way as in any masterpiece, the artist should know how to give himself/herself completely without thinking of reaching  glory, beauty, wealth, in order to express himself/herself in any beautiful, pure, authentic work. Likewise, the disciple will get the Wisdom if he/she wants to know himself/herself, surpass himself/herself, give himself/herself without expecting to reach any personal profit.

If you abandon everything, you will get everything.

Hishiryo is the cosmic conscience, not the personal one. We can experience it during Zazen. During Zazen we think about our anxieties, daily life, friends, holidays, all those phenomena which come from our memory. But if we concentrate deeply on our posture, breathing, we can stop those thoughts, forget everything and be in harmony with the cosmic thought. Unconscious emerges so to the surface, thanks to that action of abandonning everything. Our thoughts lengthen and widen in a deep way reaching the universal conscience. We can get to the end of this universal conscience. We can reach the end of this ultimate conscience, but to do so, we should not spread the thoughts of our selfconscience. This is the essential art of Zazen.

Master Dôgen wrote:


‘Think without thinking. How can we think without thinking? By thinking from the bottom of the no-thought. This is the cosmic dimension, hishiryo.’

The senses of our conscience cannot imagine it. The categories cannot define it. The word cannot explain it. We can only access to this state through the experience we have lived. Hishiryo is the harmony of the objective  and subjective visions, the ultimate conscience, beyond space and time, the most excellent conscience, global, universal, beyond any phenomenon, beyond thought and no-thought.

Text taken from the book “¿Qué es el Zen? Introducción práctica a la meditación Zen”, by Dokushô Villalba. Ediciones Miraguano, ISBN: 978-84-7813-286-4. All rights reserved.