This video is related to Kusen No. 274.
More from Kusen 268.
Are you interested in bodywork, preparation for zazen sitting, or the differences between Japanese and Western mindfulness? In this NHK film Soto zen monk Issho Fujita and Rinzai monk Takafumi Kawakami discuss letting go and listening to the body in the age of information.
Link to the documentary at the NHK website. (No longer available)
Watch Takafumi Kawakami talk on YouTube:
The verse for draping on the Okesa (kasaya – dull colour) robe, or the smaller portable robes such as Rakusu. Chanted usually in the morning at the end of the zazen period (slowly). Repeated three times. At some groups practitioners will keep their Rakusu folded during the first zazen and place on their head during the chanting (so that it is higher physically than their body) then put it on.
The robe of ‘freedom’ – gedatsu – can mean the robe of freedom from suffering or illusions – and therefore the robe (puku) of meditation practice which is the way to nirvana. Datsu means undressing or getting rid of – letting go of ego attachments and greed. In zazen we let go of being tightly gripped by distraction and return to open our awareness. The okesa design is based on rice field paddy shapes. It was pieced together by Buddha’s disciples from used rags. In it are teachings of impermanence and ‘form or emptiness’, ‘non material reward’ or ‘no forms/marks’ (musō). With practice and the expression of all things together we cultivate the ‘lucky/virtuous field’. The harvest is enlightenment rather than physical reward.
Wearing it we are wrapped (hibu) in the Tathāgata’s teachings (nyorai kyō). But by draping it on, freedom is not only for the wearer but spreads the robe out widely (kōdo) to embrace all other beings (sho shujō).
Read the verse here, with the English and Japanese/Chinese characters.
Zazen is not a means to something, but rather the expression of something. Here John discusses the point of spiritual practice and ritual in Zazen. Indeed, Zazen itself as an enactment ritual.
Zazen is the dharma gate of ease and joy, yet for so many of us it can often feel very different to this, it challenges us both physically and psychologically. In this video John discusses the importance of good posture in Zazen and how the physical position of the body can influence awareness and through this, ease and joy
A short video teaching about a wonderful poem by Master HongZhi (1091-1157). The teaching is adapted from a Kusen given on 31st March 2020