Zazen Day in Brockley with Yushin Christophe Guillet

Last Saturday, 22 February,  I spent the day in a church hall in South London on at a day of Zazen. The Brockley group had invited Yushin Christophe Guillet from Kanshoji temple in Souteast France. For city-Zen folk like me it is always interesting to meet Zen followers who have chosen a more monastic existence. Yushin has been at Kanshoji since the beginning in 2002. He now finally feels that the temple is settling in some sort of routine after almost of two decades of building and learning the ins and outs monastic Zen life. Yushin gave as some valuable insights into the life of the temple - zazen practice twice daily, ceremonies, communal meals and work periods (samu). And although they live and work in a monastery, Kanshoji residents also have plenty of contact with the surrounding communities. Yushin mentioned the temple band which regularly participates in local music festivals. Kanshoji is open to visitors who want to stay for as little as an afternoon and up to a year or more.

Other than zazen and a semi-formal meal, there was also plenty of room for questions and discussions at Brockley. A number of people asked about the role of faith in Zen. For Yushin, there is no real equivalent to faith in Zen. But in Zen there was the idea of fu ni, non duality (literally "not two"). If there was no separation between subject and object, us and the world, if we were one with what we did at each moment, there was no need for faith in a separate and hidden reality. Asked about the problem of not always being able to concentrate in zazen, Yushin conceded that it was not uncommon even for experienced practitioners to sometimes succumb to sleepiness. But even when extremely tired it was possible to maintain at least the posture of zazen. In those moments it helps Yushin to remember that he practices zazen not only for himself, but also for the others in the dojo and ultimately for and with all living beings. Thank you to Yushin and the Brockley Zen group for making this nice event happen! Further information about Kanshoji can be found under: https://www.kanshoji.org/


Comments

  1. "But even when extremely tired it was possible to maintain at least the posture of zazen. In those moments it helps Yushin to remember that he practices zazen not only for himself, but also for the others in the dojo and ultimately for and with all living beings"
    Like this quote! Even when you are not able to focus, maintaining your posture will help others maintain their posture and focus...

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