Feb 16th, 2012
I came across a discussion on the internet this week about "how to Shikantaza" ... and much good and solid advice was given. Some folks follow the breath, some "Just Sit" in boundless spaciousness, some advised this or that on the posture and letting thoughts go. All wise and good, and talk of posture, focus and such are all a necessary setting of the stage.
However, in my view (and that is all it is, and hopefully a viewless view too) SOMETHING VITAL WAS LACKING AND LEFT OUT OF THE CONVERSATION, something without which Zazen is perhaps left incomplete and lacking ...
... TO WIT, THAT NOTHING IS EVER LACKING, EVER MISSING, EVER INCOMPLETE, EVER NOT FULLY HELD AND FULLY REALIZED IN A MOMENT OF ZAZEN! A moment of sitting is THE BUDDHA, THE PURE LAND, NIRVANA ATTAINED! Each instant of Zazen is the only act, the only place to be, in and holding all time and space in that moment!
The meaning of that may confuse some folks ... but those who don't get it JUST DON'T GET IT (in my view and viewless anyway)!
What don't they get?
That to realize that one is never, from the outset, in need of change is an earthshaking CHANGE! There is absolutely nothing about you and the universe (not two) to add or take away, and tasting that there is "nothing to add" is an vital addition! Just Sitting to-the-marrow, radically dropping all goals, judgments, dropping all desire to get somewhere and attain a realization ... gets one somewhere, and a revolutionary realization! Truly understanding that everything is completely beyond need for change is a complete change, and finding that there was never a place to get to is finally getting somewhere.
Posture, breath, not grabbing onto or stirring up thoughts, living by the Precepts ... all are vital to our Way. Yet, neither are they sufficient. Zazen is not some "method", some "process" or "recipe". There is no "method" for there is "no goal" or destination!
By sitting the Wholly Holy Whole without need for change ... there is thus the most radical change of no longer wishing for change or needing change amid the every changing changeless ... thereby Shikantaza is the perfect medicine for the dis-ease and dis-satisfaction of Dukkha.
SHIKANTAZA MUST BE SAT AS THE ONE AND ONLY PRACTICE NEEDED AND ALL COMPLETED. In fact, rising from the cushion, all of life's acts ... the most mundane ... can thus be encountered as each and all Whole and Sacred too. Likewise, daily chanting, bowing or praying are each "Shikantaza" when encountered as Wholly Holy Whole. In fact, Zazen itself ... though never less than complete ... is not enough, and all of life and ethical living is our place of practice and realization! Not one piece of life is left out as 'Shikantaza' seen for such. Yet ... we sit Shikantaza seated Zazen each day as our way is to sit.
Fail to emphasize this point(in my view, and that is all it is ... hopefully viewless too) and one is just teaching meditation, milk toast, perhaps a kind of shikantaza ... but not SHIKANTAZA!
A bit more to hammer this home: