Kusen given during the summer camp on Friday, August 1, 2003
The purpose of the summer camp, the goal of the summer camp, is to deepen the practice of zazen. We repeat it all the time: "In Zen, there is no goal." But it is very important to define our purpose. Why am I doing this? Why am I here? And I realize that many people seek one thing and then go in another direction.
So the summer camp is to desire (it is said that you shouldn’t have desires, but you must know what you want!), to desire to practice zazen more deeply, more intensely, and for beginners, to discover what zazen is.
So when you want to get something, don’t turn away from your purpose, starting to look in one direction, then, later, looking elsewhere, changing directions and finally saying: "Oh no, that's what I want!" without ever getting anything in the end.
So first define your purpose, your desire, and then give all the possibilities to achieve it. The summer camp is trying to give yourself the maximum opportunity to practice zazen in the best of conditions. We must promote this and try to find the way in which we will be our possible best.
We must understand that for example here the food is good, healthy, mostly vegetarian, prepared by people who know about nutrition, but we have not come here to eat. You can use this food to help you practice. If you eat too much it will bother you, so you’ll end up moving away from the goal you've previously set.
The people who have come here, from many different countries, some of them will draw our attention more than others. We have an opportunity to meet, to know, to enjoy the pleasure of the company of other interesting people, friendly, and most importantly, who apparently have the same purpose as us since they are also practicing Zen. But we have not come here to meet people.
Sometimes, we bring our family because it is the best opportunity for us to come, because we cannot leave our children. Sometimes even spouses who are not passionate about zazen accompany their wives or husbands, they come to promote the practice of their partner, and this is very generous. So sometimes we come with our husband, wife, children, but we have not come here to spend a family holiday, we bring the family along because it is the best way for us to pratice zazen.
So everything is like this during the summer camp. We are free.
If the confrontation with ourselves is a bit hard, we can smoke a good cigarette to relax. There is even a bar, same dance music, which will eventually remove the tensions generated by zazen. We can even drink some alcohol. Everything is available to us, but obviously we have not come here to go to the bar or a nightclub or to find a sexual partner.
In fact, we could just keep the dojo and erase everything else, only zazen in the dojo is important here, during this month of August, we have the opportunity to truly explore and deepen the practice. And even outside of zazen, we are still focused on zazen, we prepare ourselves, we start in the best conditions; we can get a massage, do yoga.