There is no true mind
Kusen of Me Roland Yuno Rech - Summer camp in Godinne - 2018
Sesshin means "to become intimate with the mind". We say often "to become intimate with the true mind", but in fact there is no "true" mind. There is simply a mind which works in various ways and every way is the true way. What is wrong, it is to limit oneself to a single way of functioning … in other words, to have a narrow mind, coagulated, and congealed in a single way of functioning.
Our mental way of functioning is generally the mind which discriminates and this way of thinking is necessary for our survival. Every human being must be able to discriminate between what is good for his survival and what is toxic, what is edible and what is poisonous.
But we tend obviously to become attached to what is good for us and to reject or hate what is not good. This mind that choses and rejects can become the dominant way of mental functioning. As a result, we do not stop discriminating, going against things, even entering in conflict with what we do not like and becoming attached very strongly to what we like. And this way of thinking can even eventually blind us, because what we like can become toxic.
For example, we like food, but becoming too attached to food can lead to bulimia. Sexual activity is a pleasant activity, but we can become obsessed by sex. We can even become completely dependent on what we like: for example, we can be desperately in love with somebody and want to possess this person, reduce his/her to the state of object and deny him/her freedom. But we can also like purity and hate what is impure. We become then allergic to all we consider as impure.
This excess of discrimination makes us ill. We can become sectarian, get in violent opposition with certain groups or certain people and live in conflict. We can even go in conflict with ourselves by hating our own dark sides and, as a result, not tolerate any more to see these dark sides appearing in others.
The practice of zazen helps us to see all this clearly. And even if we like certain things and not others, we must not be excessively attached to what we like or hostile to what we don’t like. Master Sosan said: "Penetrate the way is not difficult, but there should be neither love or hatred, nor greed or rejection". This means not being dependent on our feelings, keep a supple and welcoming mind. If we are too attached to purity, we become fragile, we are going to become intolerant either towards food or towards people.
At that moment many allergies develop themselves and - at the same time - many addictions. Neither allergy, nor addiction, this is the real freedom. On a spiritual level, hate for samsara and ardent longing for nirvana become a spiritual disease.
We have to understand that we have in us the seed of all bonno and that it is all right. To recognize the bonno is to develop our immunity. We are then not surprised by the bonno which appear in our mind. We are not afraid of them. We become even familiar with them, because we have developed the capacity not to follow them.
In zazen, all kinds of illusions appear, but we do not follow them, we do not move, we say nothing, we remain silent and motionless. Nothing moves us. In daily life, of course, we are going to move and speak, but we are then going to be able to do it more freely, because we developed our lucidity and a mind which clearly sees the appearing bonno, without being automatically driven by them. This does not mean that we can never satisfy our desires, but that we can chose to satisfy only the healthy desires, the desires which do not cause suffering either for ourselves, or for others.
And as we recognized in ourselves the seed of all bonno, we are not surprised to see them appearing in others. We are not going to hate them. We are even going to have some sympathy for the beings who are driven by their bonno. It is what produces bodaishin, the awakening mind, the desire to help all beings.
But at the end, through our practice, we experimented that finally, it is zazen itself that can help, really help. Then our greatest desire will be to share this practice with others.
It was completely the meaning of Master Deshimaru's life. He dedicated all his energy to it and it made him very happy. And because he transmitted this message to a certain number of his followers, Zen continues to live here and now and it continues to be transmitted as the Way to the real Liberation.