Teijo Munnich

‘In order to awaken to the truth of life and reality, we first have to become free of our self-imposed restrictions, the delusions which cause us to adhere to the belief that there is something to depend upon that is lasting and that our life is in some way unique. Recognizing impermanence, we are aware of the infinite possibilities that are always present in life, rather than being stuck in our perceptions of what is possible. Being aware of interconnectedness, we naturally experience the support of everything in life. That is what we awaken to and return to in zazen. And this is called jijuyu zanmai.’ (Receiving the Marrow)

Jijuyu zanmai is not an easy thing to translate. When I was first at Zen Center, we titled the chant that was excerpted from Dogen’s Bendowa as Self-fulfilling Samadhi. This became Self-Receiving and -Employing Samadhi in the consensus version of the chant book, but that still doesn’t make it comprehensible to most people. Recently I have been calling it a virtuous feedback loop, whereby our zazen, our practice-enlightenment, informs and benefits the universe, and the universe informs and benefits our zazen and our practice-enlightenment. Teijo Munnich, in her commentary on the Bendowa, speaks of it as ‘Samadhi of Self receiving or accepting its function’ – and the paragraph I have quoted demonstrates how we do this.

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