Universal Recommendation of Zazen"
Life is fundamentally perfect. It is everywhere, independently what human beings do or understand. The Cosmic Order is free and, in it, there is no notion of any obstacle. So, what is the sense of the concentrated effort of human beings?
Indeed, the Universal Body is beyond the dirt of the human world. Who could think that they are needed of being cleaned?Cosmic Life is never different from anything or anyone, it is always exactly what it is, it is always where it is. What is the point of going from place to place searching for it?
However, if the smallest separation appears in your mind, no matter how narrow it is, the Way moves away as the Sky from the Earth. If you show the smallest preference or dislike, your spirit will get lost in confusion.
Be careful of not being like those ones who, after having slightly guessed the wisdom that penetrates everything, which unifies the Way and clarifies the spirit, boast themselves of understanding the entirety and have illusions of their own awakening. This fact makes them wish to climb to Heaven itself. Although these people have started the initial exploration and limited to the frontier areas of the conscience, they are still insufficient in the Way of the Absolute Emancipation.
Do you need me to tell you about Buda Shakyamuni? You can still feel the influence of those six years that he lived meditating completely motionless in the sitting posture of the lotus. Would you like me to tell you about Bodhidharma? The lineage of Transmission has preserved until now the memory of his nine years of meditation in front of a wall. The saints of the past were like that. How can the human beings of today stop following the Way?
Then, leave the intellectual comprehension. Stop running after the words and following them to the letter. What you need is to learn to direct your light to your inside in order to illuminate your true nature. Your body and mind will disappear by themselves and your original face will appear. If you want to be yourself, there is just one way: be yourself with no more delay.
To practice zazen, a silent place is convenient. Eat and drink in a moderate way. Get rid of any compromise and leave any worry. Do not think: 'This is alright, this is not'. Do not be for or against anything. Stop any movement of your conscious mind. Do not judge the thoughts that appear. Do not cultivate any expectations. Do not have any desire of becoming Buddha. The true zazen has nothing to do with the sitting posture or the lying one.
Spread out a thick rug on the place where you usually sit. On it a cushion. Sit in the posture of the lotus or in the half lotus one.
In the posture of the lotus, first, place your right foot over your left thigh, and your left foot over your right thigh. In the posture of the half lotus, it is enough to place your left foot over your right thigh.
Loosen your clothes and belt. Order them conveniently. Then, place your right hand over your left leg, with the palm up, and your left hand over your right hand. The tip of your thumbs touch each other. Sit straight in the correct body attitude. Do not bend to the left, right, forward or backwards. Make sure that your ears are in the same standing level of your shoulders, and your nose is in the same vertical line of your navel. Place your tongue against the palate. Close your mouth. Make the upper jaw be in contact with the lower one. Eyes should always be open. Breathe softly through your nose. Once you have acquired the posture, breathe deeply once. Breathe in and out. Bend your body from right to left and be still in a steady sitting posture.
Think of not thinking. How can we think of not thinking? By not thinking. This is the essential art of zazen.
The zazen I am talking about is not a meditation technique. It is the Door of Peace and Happiness. It is the Perfect Awakening. Zazen is the manifestation of the Ultimate Reality. The traps and nets of the intellect cannot catch it.
Once you have understood its essence, you will be like a tiger when it enters the jungle or a dragon when it submerges in the deepest part of the ocean.
You should know that when you practice zazen the true Way is revealed, if you move away, from the beginning, sleepiness and distraction.
When you stand up, move softly, with no hurry, calmly, intentionally. Do not stand up quickly or sharply.
When we look back, we realize that trascending illumination and no-illumination, dying sitting or standing, has always depended on the vigour of zazen.
On the other hand, the fact that the opening to illumination of some searchers of the past was provoked by a snap of fingers, a flag, a needle, a mallet, a flycatcher, a punch, a hit of a cane or a shout, cannot be completely understood by the dualist thought of human beings, and, even less, through the practice of supernatural powers.
The experience of illumination is beyond what human beings see or hear, as it is a previous state to knowledge and perceptions.
When this has been said, it does not matter a lot if you are intelligent or not. In the Way, there is no difference between the stupid or the bright one. To concentrate the effort with a unified spirit is, in itself, to follow the Way.
The practice-illumination is pure by nature. To advance is a question of assidousness.
Generally, in our country as well as in India and China, the Stamp of Buddha is respected. The distinctive feature of the Way of Zen still survives: devotion by the sitting meditation, just sit motionless with a complete compromise.
Even though it is said that there are as many worlds as human beings, everyone follows the Way in the same method: practicing zazen.
Why leaving the place that your father is saving you in his house to wander through dusty lands of other kingdoms? One wrong step, and you move away from the Way which is just under your feet.
You have had the unique luck of being born with the shape of a human being. Do not waste your time. Provide your contribution to the essential work of the Way of Buddha. How can you prefer the pleasures of this world, so momentary as the spark from the silex?
The essence and the phenomena are like the dew on the grass, the destiny is similar to a lightning (they disappear in an instant).
Honourable disciple of Zen, even though you are trying for a long time to sound out the elephant in the darkness, I beg you not to be afraid of the true dragon.
Consecrate your energy to the Way which indicates the Absolute to the point. Respect the illuminated man who is placed beyond the actions of human beings. Harmonize with the illumination of Buddhas. Be a deserving successor of the genuine dynasty of the Patriarchs. Act always like this, and you will be like them.
The chamber of the treasure will be widely open and you will be able to use it as you wish.
Written in Koshoji,
by Dôgen Zenji
13th February 1224
Spanish version by Dokushô Villalba, published in the book "Riqueza Interior", Ediciones Miraguano, Madrid, ISBN: 978-84-7813-230-0. All rights reserved