Keizan Jokin

‘Zazen is far beyond the form of sitting or lying down. Free from considerations of good and evil, zazen transcends distinctions between ordinary people and sages, it goes far beyond judgements of deluded or enlightened. Zazen includes no boundary between sentient beings and buddha. Therefore put aside all affairs, and let go of all associations. Do nothing at all. The six senses produce nothing.

What is this? Its name is unknown. It cannot be called “body”, it cannot be called “mind”. Trying to think of it, the thought vanishes. Trying to speak of it, words die. It is like a fool, an idiot. It is as high as a mountain, deep as the ocean. Without peak or depths, its brilliance is unthinkable, it shows itself silently. Between sky and earth, only this whole body is seen.

This one is without comparison – he has completely died. Eyes clear, he stands nowhere. Where is there any dust? What can obstruct such a one?’ (Zazen Yojinki)

Keizan is usually considered the co-founder of Soto Zen in Japan, alongside Dogen; this text has echoes of Dogen’s work and other, older foundational texts from China, which some of you may spot – but then Dogen himself did this in his writing.


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