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  Posted on Aug.08.2009 @ 10:26PM EDT by chontri

If you want to know the past,
to know what has caused you,
look at yourself in the present,
for that is the past's effect.

If you want to know your future,
... continue...

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ZAZEN MEDITATION GUIDE - Chapter 14. Where a Zen Teacher can be Found and When He is Needed

If your purpose in zazen is to awaken and liberate yourself from suffering caused by greed, anger, and ignorance and then be willing to help other people who would like to do the same, then you will need to find a real Zen teacher. You will need his/her guidance as soon as possible when you start practicing zazen.

Where can a real Zen teacher be found? He/she can often be found anywhere you are, especially at a Zen monastery or center around the world. If you can obtain information about a Zen teacher from a friend or from a book which guides you about Zen centers or Zen temples around the world. One of these is "A Complete Guide to Buddhist America" edited by Don Morreale. Through the internet, using the keyword "ZEN CENTRES" follow its direction to find a center or a temple which you think would be better for you to find him there. You can also search the zenguide.com zen and buddhism organization directory for a zen center near you.

Of course, there are many other things beside the Teacher, but it is necessary to have him first. Saying this does not mean you will be enlightened right away, or that he will be able to give you enlightenment.

As I said above, the way to enlightenment is rough, slippery, and long. What a Zen teacher (often called Roshi in Japanese, lit.: "old teacher") can do for you, is give you, first, some guidance in zazen practice and then he will try to do something or say some words in some circumstances in helping to wake you up. He can tell you how to treat some makyo, physical pain, sleepiness or drowsiness in zazen, and then when you have really had some experience of enlightenment, he will use some kind of tests and based on his own experience to make sure and tell you that are already there. That's all he can do on his part.

Do not expect him to do anything more than that, and do not imagine enlightenment is something like a miracle or a supernatural power. You yourself are still the main character of your zazen practice, to awaken yourself or to enlighten yourself is your job, no one else can do it for you.

This is much like if you are hungry, you yourself have to eat the food. The fact is that no one else eats the food to make you full.

I would like to borrow the following saying of the Buddha to summarize what I have just said above:
"You are your only master.
Who else?
Subdue yourself,
And discover your master."
1
However, until you find him in yourself, you still need to see a real Zen teacher. This sounds like something that happened in the story below when Zen master Ch'ing-yuan Hsing-ssu (660-740) asked his student Shi-t'ou Hsi-ch'ien (700-790) when the latter first came to see him:
- Where are you from?
- I'm coming from Ts'ao-chi [Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen].
- What did you gain at Ts'ao-chi?
- I didn't lack anything before I went to Ts'ao-chi.
- Then why did you go?
- If I wouldn't have gone to Ts'ao-chi, how would I have known that I never lacked anything?
2
1 from "The Dhammapada, the Sayings of the Buddha" translated by Thomas Byrom from Pali text
2 from "Zen Speaks" translated by Brian Bruya, 1994.

End of ZAZEN MEDITATION GUIDE - Chapter 14. Where a Zen Teacher can be Found and When He is Needed horizotal line T.o.C . Previous Chapter « | . 00. 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. | » Next Chapter



 



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