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Shobogenzo 72, ZANMAI-O-ZANMAI: The Samadhi That Is King of Samadhis

Instantly surpassing the whole world and being, in the house of the Buddha-Ancestor, a great noble being, is full lotus sitting. Treading on the heads of strayers and demons and being, in the inner sanctum of the Buddha-Ancestor, a real human being, is full lotus sitting. What surpasses the supremacy of the Buddha-Ancestor's supremacy is only this One Dharma. For this reason buddha-ancestors practise this, being otherwise utterly jobless. Know exactly: the world of sitting, and other worlds, are far removed. Clarifying this truth, buddha-ancestors intuit and affirm awakening of the mind, training, bodhi, and nirvana. Just in the moment of sitting, investigate whether the world is vertical and whether it is horizontal. Just in the moment of sitting, what is that sitting? Is it a somersault? Is it a state of vigorous activity? Is it thinking? Is it not thinking? Is it doing? Is it free of doing? Is sitting practised inside sitting? Is sitting practised inside body-mind? Is it that, through shedding such vistas as the inside of sitting and the inside of body-mind, sitting is practised? There should be investigation of thousands and tens of thousands of points like these. Bodily practise full lotus sitting. Mentally practise full lotus sitting. Practise, as body and mind dropping off, full lotus sitting.

My late Master, the Olden Buddha, said: "Zen practice is body and mind dropping off, and just sitting has got it from the beginning. It is not necessary to burn incense, to perform prostrations, to contemplate the Buddha, to practise confession, or to read sutras."

Clearly, the one who has gouged out the Eye of the Buddha-Ancestor and sat inside the Eye of the Buddha-Ancestor, for the past four or five hundred years, is my late Master alone. Few in China have matched shoulders with him. Rarely has it been clarified that sitting is the Buddha-Dharma and that the Buddha-Dharma is sitting. Even if some understand with their bodies that sitting is the Buddha-Dharma, no-one has known sitting as sitting. How then can there be any who let the Buddha-Dharma be the Buddha-Dharma? So then, there is mental sitting as opposed to physical sitting. There is physical sitting as opposed to mental sitting. And there is sitting as body and mind dropping off, as opposed to sitting as body and mind dropping off. Actually to have got what sounds like this is the practice and the understanding of the buddha-ancestors, in mutual accord. Allow this awareness, this thinking, this reflection. Investigate this mind, this intention, this consciousness.

Sakyamuni Buddha told a great gathering: In full lotus sitting, the body-mind experience of samadhi, there is dignity that many respect. Like the sun lighting up the world, it clears away sleepy, lazy and sad states of mind. The body is light and tireless. Consciousness is also light and quick. Sit at ease, like dragons coiling! The king of demons is frightened on seeing even a picture of lotus sitting -- let alone a person experiencing enlightenment, sitting at ease without leaning or moving."

Thus, to observe just a depiction of lotus sitting makes the king of demons surprised, worried and afraid. Still more, when lotus sitting is really practised, its benefits are impossible to fathom. In short, everday sitting is happiness and good beyond measure.

Sakyamuni Buddha told a great gathering: "This is why we practise full lotus sitting." Then the Thus-Come, the World-Honored One, taught his disciples that they should, like this, sit. Among those who stray from the way some seek enlightenment by constantly remaining on tiptoes, some seek enlightenment by constantly standing up, and some seek enlightenment by constantly carrying their legs on their shoulders. Mad and stubborn mind like this is sunk in the sea of falsity, and the physical form is not quiet. Therefore the Buddha taught his disciples full lotus sitting -- sitting that rights hearts and minds. How so? Because, when we allow the body to be upright, the heart tends to mend. When the body itself rights sitting, then the heart is not faint and, with open heart and true mind, we tether our attention to what exists before us. If the mind races or becomes distracted, if the body leans or becomes agitated, [sitting] inhibits this and brings us back. When we want to experience samadhi and want to enter samadhi, and yet all kinds of thought-chasing and and all kinds of dissipation is going on, [sitting] totally puts a stop to all this. Training and learning like this, we experience and enter the samadhi that is king of samadhis.

Evidently, full lotus sitting is the samadhi that is king of samadhis, and is experience and entry. All samadhis are the followers of this king of samadhis. Full lotus sitting is righting the body, is righting the mind, is righting the body-mind, is righting the buddha-ancestors, is righting practice and experience, is righting the head, and is righting the lifeblood. Fully to cross these here human legs of skin, flesh, bones and marrow is fully to cross the legs of the samadhi that is king among samadhis. The World-Honored One constantly upholds, and leaves be, full lotus sitting. He conveys to his disciples the true transmission of full lotus sitting, and he teaches full lotus sitting to human beings and gods. The mind-seal authentically transmitted by the Seven Buddhas is just this. Sakyamuni Buddha under the bodhi tree is sitting in lotus, and thus he passes one by one through fifty minor kalpas, through sixty kalpas, through countless kalpas. Sitting in full lotus for three weeks, or sitting for hours, is the turning of the wheel of the wonderful Dharma, and is the lifelong teaching of the Buddha. It lacks nothing. It is just a yellow scroll on a red stick. The meeting of Buddha with Buddha is this moment. This is the exact moment when living beings become Buddha.

The founding ancestor, the Venerable Bodhidharma, after arriving from the west, went to the Shaolin temple on the Shaoshi peak of Mount Song and, facing the wall in lotus-sitting-zen, passed nine years. From that time through to the present, China has bulged with brains and eyes. The lifeblood of the founding ancestor is nothing but full lotus sitting. Before the founding ancestor came from the west, living beings in eastern lands had never known full lotus sitting. Since the founding ancestor came from the west they have known it. So, through one life and ten thousand lives, from bottom to top and top to bottom, not leaving the forest, day and night, just to practise lotus sitting and be otherwise jobless -- this is the samadhi that is king of samadhis.

Treasury of the Eye of True Sitting;
The Samadhi That Is King of Samadhis


Delivered to the assembly at Kippo temple in Fukui prefecture, on the 15th day of the 2nd lunar month in the 2nd year of Kangen [1244].

 

Translation last revised May 2008.










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