Zazen Yojinki



Keizan, the founder of Sojiji wrote this manuscript, while he was staying at Yokoji, a temple in Ishikawa prefecture. Dogen, in Fukanzazengi gave the basic rules for zazen, but Keizan made these rules more explicit. In the full text of Zazenyojinki, Keizan goes into such details as choosing a sitting place, precautions against weather, harmony of breathing, and ways to calm the mind. Zazenyojinki even covers sitting posture, eating habits, proper clothing, inhaling and exhaling, psychological condition, and sitting rules. It thus gives the trainee a detailed set of precautions for nearly all-foreseeable problems.

Together with Fukanzazengi the work provides a base for Soto Zen practice.

Manzan (Dohaku (1636-1715) published Zazenyojinki in 1680 and wrote an introduction for it. Since then the work has prompted a number of commentaries - the most famous being one by Shigetsu Ein (died 1764) called Zazenyojinki Funogo.


Zazen clears up the human-being mind immediately and lets him dwell in his true essence. This is called showing one's natural face and expressing one's real self. It is freedom from body and mind and release from sitting and lying down.

So think neither of good nor on evil. Zazen transcends both the unenlightened and the sage, rises above the dualism of delusion and enlightenment, and crosses over the division of beings and Buddha. Through zazen we break free from all things, forsake myriad relations, do nothing, and stop the working of the six sense organs.

Who does this? We still do not know his name. We should call it neither body nor mind. If we try to imagine it, it defies imagination. If we try to describe it, it defies description. It is like the fool - and also the sage. It is high as the mountain and deep as the sea - impossible to see the top or bottom. It shines without an object, and the eyes of wisdom penetrate beyond the Body; the Body expressed itself and forms emerge. The ripple of one wave touches off 10,000 waves. The slight twitch of consciousness brings the 10,000 things bubbling up. The so-called four elements and five aggregates combine, and the four limbs and five organs immediately take form. In addition the 36 bodily possessions and the 12 mutual causes arise and circulate in successive currents. They interpenetrate with myriad things.

Our mind is like the ocean water, our body, like the waves. Just as there is not a single wave outside the ocean waters, not a drop of water exists outside waves. The water and waves are not different; action and inaction do not differ. So it is said: "Even though living and dying, going and coming, they are true men. Even though possessing the four elements and five aggregates, they have the eternal body." This zazen directly enters the ocean of the Buddha Mind and immediately manifests the Buddha Body. Then the Mind -inherently unexcelled, clear, and bright-suddenly emerges, and the supreme light shines fully at last. The ocean waters know no increase or decrease, and neither do the waves undergo change. All Buddhas appear in this world to solve its cloud. It reaches without thinking and radiates the essential teaching in silence. Sitting in both heaven and earth, we express our whole body in freedom. The great man who has sloughed off thinking is like one who has died the Great Death. No illusions distort his sight; his feet pick up no dust. No dust anywhere and nothing obstructs him.

Pure water has neither front nor back. In a clear sky there is essentially no inside and out side. Like them - transparent and clear - zazen shines brightly by itself. Form and void are undivided nor are objects and wisdom apart. They have been together from time eternal and have no name. The Third Patriarch, a great teacher, tentatively called it "Mind"; the respected Nagarjuna called it "Body." It expresses the form of the Buddha and the body of the Buddhas. This full-moon form has neither lack nor excess. Anyone self-identified with this mind is a Buddha. The light of this self, shining both now and in the past, gains shape and fulfills the samadhi of the Buddhas.

The Mind essentially is not two; the Body takes various shapes through causality. Mind-only and Body-only cannot be explained either as different or the same. The Mind changes and becomes the most crucial problems by giving all beings direct access to the Buddha's wisdom. They teach a wonderful way of calmness and detachment zazen. It is, in fact, the self-joyous meditation of the Buddhas. It is the king of meditations. Dwelling in this meditation even for a moment will clear away your delusions. This, we know, is the right gate to Buddhism.

Those who would clear up their mind must abandon complex intellection, forsake the world and Buddhism, and make the Buddha Mind appear. Then the cloud of delusion lifts and the moon of the mind shines anew.

The Buddha is supposed to have said that hearing and thinking about Buddhism is like standing outside the gate but that zazen is truly returning home and sitting down in comfort. This is true. In hearing and thinking of Buddhism, opinions prevail. The mind remains confused; it is truly like standing outside the gate. But in this zazen all things disappear; it is not conditioned by place. It is like returning home and sitting down in comfort.

The delusion of the five hindrances arises from ignorance. Ignorance stems from not knowing the self - the self, that zazen enables us to know. Even if we cut off the five hindrances, we still remain outside the sphere of the Buddhas and patriarchs unless we also free ourselves from ignorance. And the most effective way to do this is zazen. An ancient sage has said: "When delusions disappear, calmness emerges, When calmness emerges, wisdom arises. When wisdom, arises, there is true understanding.

The most important thing is to transcend the problem of birth and death. Though this life moves swiftly, the eye for seeing the way is not open. We must realize that this is no time to sleep. If you are about to be lulled to sleep, you should make this vow: "My habitual passion from former actions is already deep-rooted; therefore I have already received the hindrance of sleep. When will I awake from the darkness? Buddhas and the patriarchs I seek escape from the suffering of my darkness through your great compassion.

If your mind is disturbed, rest it on the tip of the nose or below the navel and count your inhaled and exhaled breath. If your mind still is not calm, take a Koan and concentrate on it. For example consider these non-taste the stories: "Who is this that comes before me?" (Hui-neng); "Does a dog have Buddha nature?" (Chao-chou); Yun men's Mt Sumeru and Chao-chou's oak tree in the garden. These are available applications. If your mind is still disturbed, sit and concentrate on the moment your breath has stopped and both eyes have closed forever, or on the unborn state in your mother's womb or before one thought arises. If you do this, the two Sunyatas (non-ego) will emerge, and the disturbed mind will be put at rests.

When you arise from meditation and unconsciously take action, that action is itself a Koan. Without entering into relation, when you accomplish practice and enlightenment, the Koan manifests itself. State before the creation of heaven and earth, condition of empty kalpa, and wondrous functions and most important thing of Buddhas and patriarchs - all these are one thing, zazen.

These details are compiled from various sources.

Living Karate - Sydney Matsubayashi Ryu