Teisho: Introductory Talk #6: Three Essentials of Zen Practice

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“… three elements that are essential to serious Zen practice: great faith, great doubt and great determination …”

 three essentials of zen practice

Description: This talk covers three elements that the 11th century master Tahui and the 18th century master Hakuin developed as “essential” to serious Zen practice. (The first and third equate to the 3rd and 4th paramitas – patience and resolve or vigor; the second equates to the quest or search that set Shakyamuni on his journey.) These are: great faith, great doubt and great determination. Zen is not faith-based in the religious sense of the word. Great faith in this context does not require belief in anything. It does require faith that the practice is worthwhile, faith in the reality of what the practice can lead to, faith that there is something to be designated by the term, Buddha, or awakened one, and that it is possible for anyone to find their way to that reality in spite of every seemingly impossible hindrance. Great doubt arises from the gift of being given questions that we cannot answer, as in a koan. Our basic existence is in fact a question. Through practice we can structure the questioning of our experience of who we are, where we come from, where we are going and what all this existence is. Great determination is a consequence of great doubt, or great questioning. It is a conviction that in spite of obstacles we can come to experience our true reality.

Post & Featured image: Three Peaks of Lavaredo by temprb0CCO Public Domain.

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