Comment pratiquer zazen (extrait du Fukanzazengi de maître Dogen )
Cease studying words and following letters. Learn to step back, turning the light inwards, illuminating the Self. Doing so, your body and mind will drop away naturally, and Original Self will manifest. If you wish to attain suchness, practice suchness immediately.
Fukan-zazengi (Universal Way of Zazen) by Dogen Zenji
Now, for zazen a quiet room is best. Eat and drink moderately. Let go of all associations, and put all affairs aside. Do not think of either good or evil. Do not be concerned with either right or wrong. Put aside the operation of your intellect, volition, and consciousness. Stop considering things with memory, imagination and contemplation. Do not seek to become Buddha. To be Buddha has nothing to do with the forms of sitting or lying down.
Usually a thick zabutan is put on the floor where you sit, and a zafu placed on it. You may sit full lotus or half lotus. Your clothing should be loose but neat. Then put your right palm up on your left foot and your left palm up on your right palm. The tips of your thumbs should be lightly touching. Sit upright, leaning neither to the left nor right, neither forward nor backward. Your ears should be in line with your shoulders, and your nose should be in line with your navel. Place your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Close your lips and jaw. Always keep your eyes open. Breathe quietly through your nose. After having regulated your posture, exhale completely and take a breath. Sway your body from left to right a few times. Sit stably in samadhi. Think of not-thinking.
How do you think of not-thinking? Beyond thinking. This is the essential way of zazen. The Zazen I am talking about is not step-by-step meditation. It is simply the dharma gate of peace and comfort. It is the practice-enlightenment of the ultimate Way. In doing zazen, the Koan manifests itself; it cannot be ensnared. When you grasp this, you are like a dragon with water, or a tiger in the mountains. You must know that true dharma manifests itself in zazen, and that dullness and distraction drop away.
How to practice Zazen
Words from the Elders
Open letter to those just beginning…
When you first came to the dojo… Was it through curiosity? Searching for meaning to life? Answers to what may be troubling you?
You asked me: « What will I get out of this? »
I replied: « Nothing. » The philosophy of Zen is not about `profit' or `gain'.
Its practice, however, will bring change to life, another perspective, and greater freedom.
You spoke of some difficulty in adopting the posture for zazen. I explained that you would gradually acquire the ability to relax your body and mind through `loosening up' exercises that would be taught to you. I also pointed out that sitting in zazen meditation is a personal experience. No-one but you can live, die, or contemplate your `reality' in this silent space, where you are alone with yourself. It is a practice which calls for patience and `watchfulness'. It is for you to `see' and unfold within yourself how we are all constantly distracted by our dreams, absent-mindedness and the busy-ness of external things. Zazen is a way to take us on the journey back to our original nature and the presence of the real Self.
You also mentioned that to sit facing a wall made you feel uncomfortable, that thoughts kept soaring through your mind.
Know that when the body posture is right, breathing becomes even, the mind stills itself, and what runs through it passes like clouds in the sky.
You felt ill at ease too about the rules of the dojo…
Enter with your left foot, bow in greeting, leave on your right foot...
Again, these are exercises in concentration. In a dojo, one comes to learn to focus on here and now, and such rules contribute to harmony with others and with the universe.
And so, dear friend, these are my words to you now.
Know also that we are all beginners, throughout life. ALL is impermanent and each instant is the fruit of the interdependence of ALL. Let us accept this and live it fully.
It is my dearest wish that you undertake this journey (joyfully) into beyond all duality. May you through the simplicity of the practice of Zen come to an absolute state of wisdom and inner tranquillity.
Wisdom of the body
Today, the meeting of eastern wisdom and western psychosomatic medicine increasingly addresses the development of self-control' with references to “wisdom of the body”.
In the Orient, self-perceptions are based on awareness of one's own feelings and sensations, with the body directly linked to nature.
So it is that what becomes `rooted' in the physical body recalls to us the natural laws operating within it. This is not something `understood' through the process of `thinking', or what our mind is saying to us. All too often, especially these days, there is denial of the nature of the body, and indeed of Nature itself. What then do we make of today's world, with its growing dis-ease and state of crisis?
Should Mankind be encouraged to adapt to an evermore demanding modern society whose very decomposition is also, quite literally, making it sick?
In the practice of zazen we can `attune' with nature and the order of the cosmos.
In western societies, psychotherapies of all kinds aim essentially to `re-member' us to our own personal story and history.
Eastern methods (of `self-control) place the emphasis more on natural self-empowerment and how to achieve it based on the fact that the body knows what is best for it. Sitting still and silent in zazen meditation gradually leads us to realize who we truly are at the core of our very `being'. It is an opportunity to shed so much doing, doing, doing…
Yes, on this journey inward we `face up' to death, solitude and the inevitable interdependence of life and death. It is a daunting exercise, but it is through the - positive - acceptance of human reality that we are enabled to live `here and now', to be creative and to love unconditionally.
Qu'est-ce que le Zen ?
C'est une spiritualité très ancienne, appelée Tch'an en Chine, Zen au Japon; cette appellation est maintenant universelle.
Le Zen a un caractère concret, il ne se pratique pas seulement en méditant, il doit présider à tous les actes, même les plus quotidiens.
Qu'est-ce que le Zen ?
Pour Bodhidharma à qui on doit la création du Bouddhisme Zen, c'est « voir dans sa propre nature pour atteindre l'éveil ». C'est être assis sans rien attendre, sans but et sans profit.
Plus encore, dans un vide insondable. De ce vide on peut éprouver de l'effroi, ou un calme absolu, c'est la conscience de l'impermanence totale de toute chose. Le « moi » a la mouvance de l'instant qui change perpétuellement, il ne donne que l'illusion de la continuité.
Pour le Boudhisme, le « moi » est une mouvance perpétuelle.
Qu'est-ce que le Zen ?
C'est être sans attente, face à un mur nu, les jambes croisées en lotus ou en demi-lotus, sur un « zafu », qui est un coussin rond, le dos parfaitement droit, les pouces en contact, les yeux mi-clos, la respiration lente, calme, les pensées défilent sans que l'on s'y attarde.
En « zazen », (za=assis, zen=méditation, donc méditation assise), on prend conscience de la position, sans attendre quoi que ce soit.
Il n'y a pas de but à espérer en faisant zazen.
Tout est là, c'est le calme et la vacuité du présent.
C'est à la fois simple, immense, difficile. On se demande ce qui se passe lorsqu'un acte aussi fonctionnel devient une oeuvre de vie. C'est un fabuleux destin au quotidien.