Keizan Jokin

‘An ancient master said, “When delusive thoughts cease, tranquility arises; when tranquility arises, wisdom appears; when wisdom appears, Reality reveals itself.”
If you want to eliminate delusive thoughts, you should cease to discriminate between good and evil. Give up all affairs with which you are involved; do not occupy your mind with any concerns nor become physically engaged in any activity. This is the primary point to bear in mind.
When delusive objects disappear, delusive mind dies away. When delusive mind disappears, the unchanging Reality manifests itself and we are always clearly aware. It is not extinction; it is not activity.
Therefore, you should avoid engaging in any arts or crafts, medicine or fortune-telling. Needless to say, you should stay away from music and dancing, arguing and meaningless discussion, fame and personal profit. While composing poetry can be a way to purify one’s mind, do not be fond of it. Give up writing and calligraphy. This is the fine precedent set by practitioners of the Way. This is essential for harmonizing the mind.’ (Zazen Yojinki – Things We Should Be Careful About Regarding Zazen)

Like Koun Ejo, Keizan is a successor of Dogen, and some of his language echoes his more illustrious predecessor (I don’t remember Dogen saying anything about fortune telling but I suspect this would have been his line; Keizan goes on to talk about fancy clothes and fine food, which Dogen definitely expressed opinions about).
Keizan is often ranked alongside Dogen, since he founded Sojiji, Soto Zen’s other main training temple alongside Dogen’s Eiheiji, and the consensus chant of the Buddhas and male Ancestors ends with him, as after that the Soto lineage divided; I remember reading, probably in the Gyo Ji Ki Han, that if you had monks visiting from other lineages, it would be rude to chant the names of ancestors who were not theirs.

2 thoughts on “Keizan Jokin

  1. The old masters were very keen on dropping off all activities to have people focus whole-heartedly on the way. Probably they thought their students were too slack to be fully-fledged monastics. We can take the advice with a pinch of salt, unless you want to be a monk, and even then, probably so.


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