HyC Adventures
The Poetics of Perception
Zen Buddhism

 

 

 

Gassho

 

合掌

 

Gassho

 

The Japanese word gassho means “to bring the palms together.” It is a form of greeting in Zen, or an expression of gratitude, with the hands joined, palm to palm, fingers pointing upward, as in prayer, and sometimes made with a bow.

 

The Links on the right will

directly point you  F

to essays and other material about Zen.

 

 

Zen

Chan

(in Chinese)

 

 

The basic Zen practice is zazen, or sitting meditation.

 

坐禪

zazen

 

If this is so, what do you make of this statement by Sawaki Kodo Roshi:

 

Zazen is good for nothing!

 

Even though the Roshi is playing around here, this is a statement of penetrating insight, since ”nothing” or “emptiness” (mu in Japanese) is a fundamental idea in Zen, directly pointing back to what old Shakyamuni awakened to as he sat under the Bodhi Tree.

 

mu

 

Emptiness can be thought about as an idea or concept, yes, but that is only half the story; it is also a concrete actuality. Zazen reveals that actuality. Or better: zazen is that actuality. Just don’t do something—sit there!

 

 

The Traditional Four-Phrase Summary of Zen:

 

 

Outside the teaching, apart from tradition.

Not founded on words or letters.

Directly pointing to the human mind.

Seeing into one’s nature and becoming a Buddha.

 

教外別傳

不立文字

直指人心

見性成佛

 

 

Zen Master Dogen reconceived the second line of the fourfold summary and expressed his new conception in the following waka:

 

Not limited

By language,

It is ceaselessly expressed;

So, too, the way of letters

Can display but not exhaust it.

 

 

いひすてし 

そのことの 

なれば 

ふでにもあとを 

めざりけり

 

 

 

 


 




 

 


Zen Koans
Four 12th-Century Zen Letters
Dogen's Metaphors of Enlightenment
Dogen Preaches on Nonduality
Dogen's Fukanzazengi: A Tale of Three Texts
Two Zen Cooks Show Dogen the Way
The Karma of Words: A Poem by Bai Juyi
The Zen Koan
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