Teisho: Sesshin Day 1, Koan Mu (Jôshû’s Dog)

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“This is a practice of allowing and loving.”

zendo meditation sitting

Description: This teisho is the first of the Spring 2017 sesshin. Traditionally, the first talk, during sesshin, is about the first koan, Mu, or “Jôshû’s Dog.” Henry begins by discussing prostrations and poses the questions, what does the term “buddha” mean?, which leads into why do we do a sesshin? (what are we doing, sitting all day, for days) and two great questions of zen—how to live as a human being, how to be human, and what is a human being. Henry points to the five ingredients of the first koan—monk, Jôshû, dog, buddha-nature and Mu. Why does Jôshû say, “Mu”? How do we practice with Mu? “Mu is a stand-in for absolutely any moment. It is the one and only moment.” There is an explanation of the Rinzai vs Soto perspective on the breakthrough experience or kensho. Zen offers the path beyond this experience—how to integrate awakening or buddha-nature into our daily life.

Post & Featured Image (edited): Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-Ji Meditation Hall by Michael Dougan, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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