Why do you do zazen?

Gillian Coote, roshi addresses the problem practitioners often have in explaining their practice to others. Answering ‘it helps me to remain calm’ or ‘to gain some insight’ reduces the practice to a very small part of what it is.

Gillian takes up Case 30 of the Wu-Men Kuan, where this problem is reflected in the dialogue between Nan-yuëh and Ma-tsu, in which Ma-tsu states his reason for doing zazen as “I seek to become a Buddha”.

Nan-yuëh responds to this by picking up a roofing tile and polishing it. When asked what he is doing Nan-yuëh responds that he is making a mirror.

“Can a piece of roofing tile be made into a mirror?” asks Ma-tsu.

“Can a Buddha be created by doing zazen?” responds Nan-yuëh.

Gillian concludes in her talk:

No goals, no purpose, it is coming home, that’s the reason for practice

This talk was given at a Zazenkai in February, 2014