by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
Dainen-ji, July 20th, 2002
Zazen is the practice with the whole body-mind of what is true for all bodies and minds. It is practising the hand as the hand, the eyes as the eyes, and this moment as this moment.
In this moment of sitting up straight with both eyes and both ears open, we face what is true in all moments. In this moment, if our attention is folded in and backed away from the ten directions that spill out all around as this world, then that is true of how we tend to be in many moments. We are playing out the games of hope and fear, grasping and avoidance, that self-image wastes away its life with instead of coming out into the truth of this life.
In this moment, if we are struggling to be mindful, then the clumsiness that comes from clenching our attention like a fist so much of the time is revealed. In seeing this, we can learn to open our hands. In this moment, if we are just open to the openness that is present as this present moment, then we begin to come face-to-face with what is always true in all the moments. Each moment is a moment of coming and going; but we cannot find any place that the moment comes from or goes to. Each moment is a moment of body-mind and world and the ten directions embracing each other without barrier.
In the Tenzo Kyokun 典座教訓, Dogen zenji says, “Throughout the day and night, practise the coming and going of things as arising in the mind, the mind turning and displaying itself as things.” This is true in each moment of the day and in each moment of the night.
Many of those who have come before us in this Lineage of the practice of realization sat not only every day, but all day. Some even sat all night as well. To celebrate our own opportunity to actually do the practice that forges Buddhas, and to acknowledge our relationship with those Awakened Ancestors, with our Teachers, and with each other as sangha, each year, we practise Yaza -- we sit together through the night. This is how Zen monks have a party.
Many people are used to staying up all night watching old movies on television, or arguing with a spouse, or fretting over unpaid bills, or just drinking and causing trouble for ourselves and others. Well, we’re not making any trouble here -- hopefully, we’re not making anything here -- but instead are just simply sitting and attending openly.
You might get bored and flick through the old movies of memories. You might argue with yourself or with your sitting. You might be fretting about unpaid bills. But please, just enjoy yourselves. And just sit.