by Sawaki Kôdô Rôshi
Translated from Japanese by Jesse Haasch and Muhô
“What’s zazen good for? Absolutely nothing! This “good for nothing” has got to sink into your flesh and bones until you’re truly practicing what’s good for nothing. Until then, your zazen is really good for nothing.
You say you want to become a better person by doing zazen. Zazen isn’t about learning how to be a person. Zazen is to stop being a person.
Zazen is unsatisfying. Unsatisfying for whom? For the ordinary person. People are never satisfied.
Isn’t it self-evident? How could that which is eternal and infinite ever satisfy human desires?
Unsatisfying: simply practicing zazen.
Unsatisfying: realizing zazen with this body.
Unsatisfying: absorbing zazen into your flesh and blood.
Being watched by zazen, cursed by zazen, blocked by zazen, dragged around by zazen, every day crying tears of blood – isn’t that the happiest form of life you can imagine?
You say “When I do zazen, I get disturbing thoughts!” Foolish! The fact is that it’s only in zazen that you’re aware of your disturbing thoughts at all. When you dance around with your disturbing thoughts, you don’t notice them at all. When a mosquito bites you during zazen, you notice it right away. But when you’re dancing and a flea bites your balls, you don’t notice it at all.
Don’t whine. Don’t stare into space. Just sit!”