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Archive for February, 2008

Master Dogen’s Zazenshin

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Master Dogens Zazenshin

Eihei Dōgen is a famous zen monk who lived in 13th century Japan. In his time he was a great teacher and established the Soto Zen sect in Japan after first training in China for many years under numerous great Buddhist masters. Part of his legacy is the ‘Shobogenzo’ in which contains the chapter called ‘Zazenshin’ which translates as ‘A Needle For Zazen’. Zazen being the type of sitting meditation that forms the core practice of Soto Zen Buddhism. In his translation of master Dogen’s Shobogenzo’, Gudo Nishijima writes the following at the start of the Zazenshin Chapter. “Shin means a bamboo needle that was used for acupuncture in ancient China. So shin means a method of healing the body and mind, and the word came to be used for a maxim that has the power to cure a human being of physical and mental discomfort. Subsequently, the word shin was used to describe short verses useful in teaching the important points of a method of training. In this chapter Master Dogen… …praises a zazenshin by Master Wanshi Shokaku, and finally, he wrote his own Zazenshin.” which is the one you now see above.

Master Dogen’s Zazenshin small