of the Eye of the True Dharma
is zazen. For zazen, one should have a quiet place. Spread a
thick sitting mat. Do not let in drafts or vapors; do not admit
rain or dew. You should secure and maintain the spot where you
place yourself. There are traces from the past of those who sat
on a vajra [seat] or sat on a rock; they all spread a
thick layer of grass to sit on.1 The place where you
sit should be bright; it should not be dark either day or night.
The technique is to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer.
Cast aside all involvements and discontinue the myriad affairs.
Good is not thought of; evil is not thought of.2 It is not mind, intellect
or consciousness; it is not thoughts, ideas or perceptions. Do
not figure to make a buddha; slough off sitting or reclining.3
You should be moderate in food and drink. Hold dear the passing
days and nights, and take to zazen as though brushing a fire
from your head. The Fifth Ancestor on Mt. Huangmei worked only
at zazen, without any other other occupation.4
you should wear your kesa.
a cushion. The cushion is not placed completely under
your crossed legs but only under the rear half, so that the mat
is beneath the legs and the cushion beneath the spine. This is
the way that all the buddhas
have sat during zazen.5
Sit in either the half lotus or full lotus position. For the full
place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on
your right thigh. The toes should be even with the thighs, not
out of alignment. For the half
simply place your left foot on your right thigh.6
Loosen your robe and underwaist, and arrange them properly. Place
your right hand on your left foot and your left hand on your
right hand. Put the tips of your thumbs together. With your hands
in this position, place them against your body, so that that
the joined thumb tips are aligned with your navel.7
Straighten your body and sit erect. Do not lean to the left or
right; do not bend forward or back. The ears should always be
aligned with the shoulders, and the nose aligned with the navel.
The tongue should be placed against the front of the palate.
The breath should pass through the nose. The lips and teeth should
be closed. The eyes should be open, neither too widely nor too
Having thus regulated body
take a breath and exhale fully. Sitting
think of not thinking. How do you think of
not thinking? Nonthinking. This is the art of zazen.9
Zazen is not the practice
It is the dharma gate of great ease and joy. It is undefiled practice and verification.10
of the Eye of True Dharma, Principles of Zazen, Number 11.
to the assembly in the first year of Kangen, [cyclical year]
mizunoto-u , winter, eleventh [month]; at Yoshimine
shôja, Yoshida district, Esshû.11