Tuesday, December 18, 2007

About dokusan - 'work in the room'

"Zen meetings have the simplest of forms: two people sitting on the floor, face inches from face, in a candlelit room. And yet that small room is a large field, containing the stars and the earthworms and poems and cities. In the vastness, the Chinese teacher Linji said, the true person has no rank; everyone and everything is perfectly equal, and completely themselves. Here we don't even have stories about what meetings are for. The world of how you think it ought to be and whether you're making a good impression is a ghost world; work in the room is sitting together in the real, where anything might be possible. Authority lies in the timeless moment itself: What is most real, most true, right here and right now?

"The teacher invites the meditator into this field, and the meditator's response is where the encounter begins. Every meetings is different--laughter, tears, sitting together in silence, banging about the room, songs sung and koans explored. Most often there is the deepest kind of conversation. I notice in myself that the feeling which arises naturally from this field is love."

Joan Sutherland, Roshi.

This is an excerpt from an essay on 'Dokusan' published in the 2004 winter edition of the Buddhadharma magazine. To read the whole essay in The Open Source's website, click here.

Joan Sutherland, Roshi, is the founder of The Open Source which is a collaborative network of NewZen communities and practitioners in the western United States.

The short summary below explains the focus of their practice and can be found on her website:

"Our practice has the power to reveal a Zen that is not bound to another time and a different place, a Zen that is native to us; we begin to recognize the ineffable in the images and metaphors of this time and place, arising out of our landscapes, our ancestral spirits, our poetries, our psyches, and our songs."

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