Kusen given during the summer camp, on Sunday, 4th August, 2002
When you sit, don't move all the covers, align yourself with your neighbour in a chessboard pattern. The inner concentration must go hand in hand with the outer concentration. Summer camps, sesshins, are the best opportunities to progress in the practice of zazen. The more we lead individualistic lives, the less easy is to practice zazen. When you're in a group like this one, it is much easier to practice zazen for three, four days.
In the past, summer camps lasted two months. With Sensei, there were two months of summer camp. Now, I can no longer practice for two months, not because I don’t like zazen, but because the practitioners, those of whom should be practicing with me, are not available. Year after year, month after month, instead of strengthening, instead of deepening their practice, it weakens and decreases in intensity, with time.
People would like very fast, immediate results with zazen, then, for a few years they practice with intensity, but as they don’t get results fast enough, then, they get discouraged.
Indeed, it is difficult for us to assess the true value of zazen.
Some time ago, I spoke about the concept of time for a one-year-old baby and for and adult of fifty. The concept of time for humans to become a Buddha is somewhat the same thing, the same relation as that of a little baby who thinks a year is immensely long. The first four years of a baby’s life is equivalent to ten years in an adult’s.
From the point of view of Buddha, the time to reach enlightenment, emancipation, total freedom, for someone who practices diligently and seriously, is very fast. But from the point of view of our human conceptions, it is very long, it really is the issue of a lifetime.
It's called the Great Issue. This really is the issue of a lifetime, it is a recreation, we are obliged to harmonize with the time and the conditions in which we are. So for some, a month-long summer camp is long… long… long, it is very difficult. For me, I barely have time to concentrate when is already finished and I have to go back home.
We must never judge the three treasures with human references, we should never forget that the only point in a mission, in a Sangha, in a summer camp, is to be able to create a dojo and to practice zazen, facing oneself, with the others. It is only that, zazen, it is always the same topic.
I remember that in his time, Sensei told us: "Here, this is not the Club Méditerranée!"
It is true that we have many memories of holidays, romantic encounters, a whole bunch of phenomena, dramas, moments of happiness, moments where we felt cold, moments where we felt hot, but the only thing truly important and eternal, whose benefits are eternal and you cannot lose, is the accumulation of zazens due to these hours, these years of zazen, sitting facing the wall.
Today perhaps our zazen takes a certain dimension. Whatever issue in our everyday life, even the greatest passions, the greatest moments of happiness, even social success, even the children, family, all that’s left is a dream, a vague dreams, over time.
However, over time, zazen becomes unwavering, invulnerable, eternal, and who cares about this? Go and try to explain this to a fly that revolves around a lamp.