Dogen (1200-1253) fue el fundador de la escuela Soto Zen (una de las dos principales ramas zen, junto con la escuela Rinzai). Son más de 2500 años destilados en su libro Shobo Genzo que según dicen los que saben, representa la obra más importante del zen y desde luego una de las mayores del budismo en general.

El Shobo Genzo es un trabajo monumental y está considerado como la expresión más profunda de la sabiduría del zen que existe escrita, y también como una obra de enorme valor literario y filosófico de Japón. Es una colección de 96 ensayos por Eihei Dogen, fundador de la escuela Soto Zen.

He querido rescatar dos ensayos del libro en los que se habla de la meditación (zazen), que son especialmente interesantes hoy en día con la de cientos o miles de libros escritos sobre este tema y la enorme confusión que hay. Ir a la raíz sin duda tiene sus ventajas. Está escrito en 1243 y contiene (casi) todo lo que hay que saber sobre la práctica de la meditación. Más artículos acerca de la meditación aquí.

Sorry de nuevo por no buscar una versión en español. El libro original está traducido desde el japonés medieval al inglés, solo hay tres traducciones completas disponibles. En esta edición que puedes comprar en versión electrónica han trabajado durante 50 años decenas de traductores, siendo quizás el trabajo más importante de su vida. Traducir del inglés al español arruinaría al completo el sentido del libro y se perdería la mayor parte de su esencia.

Por cierto, el libro es complicado, enigmático, lleno de dobles sentidos y al mismo tiempo brutal y lleno de toda la sabiduría de la no-dualidad. Me queda tiempo para leerlo al completo. Por lo que se comenta en varias fuentes y estoy de acuerdo, solo conviene leerlo después de otros libros introductores como Zen mind, beginners mind de S. Suzuki del que ya he publicado varios artículos aquí y me parece realmente bueno.


“Rules for Zazen (Zazen Gi)”, por Dogen en el Shobo Genzo.

Practicing zen is zazen.

For zazen, a quiet place is suitable. Lay out a thick mat. Do not let in drafts or smoke, rain or dew. Protect and maintain the place that contains your body. There are examples from the past of sitting on a diamond seat and sitting on a flat stone covered with a thick layer of grass.

Day or night, the place of sitting should not be dark; it should be kept warm in winter and cool in summer.

Set aside all involvements and let the myriad things rest.

Zazen is not thinking of good, not thinking of bad. It is not conscious endeavour.

It is not introspection.

Do not desire to become a buddha.

Let sitting or lying down drop away.

Be moderate in eating and drinking.

Mindful of the passing of time, engage yourself in zazen as though saving your head from fire.

On Mount Huangmei, Hongren, the Fifth Ancestor, practiced zazen to the exclusion of all other activities.

When sitting zazen, wear the kashaya and use a round cushion. The cushion should not be placed all the way under the legs, but only under the buttocks. In this way the crossed legs rest on the [soft] mat and the backbone is supported with the round cushion. This is the method used by all buddha ancestors for zazen.

Sit either in the half-lotus position or in the full-lotus position. For the full-lotus put the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. The toes should lie along the thighs, not extending beyond. For the half-lotus position, simply put the left foot on the right thigh. Loosen your robes and arrange them in an orderly way.

Place the right hand on the left foot and the left hand on the right hand, with the ends of the thumbs lightly touching each other. With the hands in this position, place them close to the body so that the joined thumb-tips are at the navel.

Straighten your body and sit upright. Do not lean to the left or right; do not bend forward or backward. Your ears should be in line with your shoulders, and your nose in line with your navel. Rest your tongue against the roof of your mouth, and breathe through your nose. Lips and teeth should be closed.

Eyes should be open, neither too wide, nor too narrow. Having adjusted body and mind in this manner, take a breath and exhale fully.

Sit solidly in samadhi and think not-thinking.

How do you think not-thinking? Beyond thinking.

This is the art of zazen.

Zazen is not learning to do concentration.

It is the dharma gate of great ease and joy.

It is undivided practice-realization.

Presented to the assembly of the Yoshimine Temple, Yoshida County, Echizen Province, in the eleventh month, the first year of the Kangen Era [1243].

“Recommending Zazen to All People” (Fukan Zazen Gi), por Dogen

The real way circulates everywhere; how could it require practice or enlightenment?

The essential teaching is fully available; how could effort be necessary?

Furthermore, the entire mirror is free of dust; why take steps to polish it?

Nothing is separate from this very place; why journey away?

And yet, if you miss the mark even by a strand of hair, you are as distant as heaven from earth. If the slightest discrimination occurs, you will be lost in confusion.

You could be proud of your understanding and have abundant realization, or acquire outstanding wisdom and attain the way by clarifying the mind. Still, if you are wandering about in your head, you may miss the vital path of letting your body leap.

You should observe the example of Buddha Shakyamuni of the Jeta Grove, who practiced sitting up straight for six years even though he was gifted with intrinsic wisdom. Still celebrated is the Master Bodhidharma of Shaolin Temple who sat facing the wall for nine years, although he had already received the mind seal.

Ancient sages were like this; who nowadays does not need to practice as they did? Hence, you should stop searching for phrases and chasing after words. Take the backward step and turn the light inward.

Your body-mind of itself will drop off and your original face will appear. If you want to attain just this, immediately practice just this.

For zazen, a quiet room is appropriate. Drink and eat in moderation. Let go of all involvements and let myriad things rest. Do not think good or bad. Do not judge right or wrong.

Stop conscious endeavour and analytic introspection. Do not try to become a buddha. How could being a buddha be limited to sitting or not sitting?

In an appropriate place for sitting, set out a thick mat and put a round cushion on top of it. Sit in either the full- or half-lotus posture. For the full-lotus posture, first place the right foot on the left thigh, then the left foot on the right thigh. For the half-lotus posture, place the left foot on the right thigh.

Loosen the robes and belts and arrange them in an orderly way.

Then place the right hand palm up on the left foot, and the left hand on the right hand, with the tips of the thumbs lightly touching each other. Sit straight up without leaning to the right or left and without bending forward or backward. The ears should be in line with the shoulders and the nose in line with the navel. Rest the tongue against the roof of the mouth, with lips and teeth closed. Keep the eyes open and breathe gently through the nose.

Having adjusted your body in this manner, take a breath and exhale fully, then sway your body to left and right.

Now sit steadfastly and think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Beyond thinking. This is the essential art of zazen.

The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the dharma gate of enjoyment and ease. It is the practice-realization of complete enlightenment.

Realize the fundamental point free from the binding of nets and baskets. Once you experience it, you are like a dragon swimming in the water or a tiger reposing in the mountains.

Know that the true dharma emerges of itself, clearing away hindrances and distractions. When you stand up from sitting, move your body slowly and rise calmly, without haste. We understand from past precedents that going beyond ordinary and sacred, where sitting and standing are effortless and boundless, depends solely on the power of zazen.

Furthermore, bringing forth the turning point by using a finger, a pole, a needle, or a mallet, or leading people to enlightenment with a whisk, a fist, a stick, or a shout, cannot be understood by discriminatory thinking. How can it be understood by the use of supernatural powers?

Zazen is an awesome presence outside form and color.

How is it not the path preceding concept? Thus, do not be concerned with who is wise and who is stupid. Do not discriminate the sharp from the dull.

To practice wholeheartedly is the true endeavour of the way. Practice-realization is not defiled with specialness; it is a matter for every day.

Now, in this world and in other worlds, in India and China, buddha ancestors equally carry the buddha seal and teach to sit immersed in steadfastness.

Although circumstances may vary in a thousand ways, wholeheartedly practice Zen, giving yourself fully to the way.

Why give up the sitting platform of your own house and wander uselessly in the dust of a remote land? Once a wrong step is taken, you depart from the way. Having received a human life, do not waste the passing moments.

Already upholding the buddha way, why would you indulge in the sparks from a flint? After all, form is like a dewdrop on the grass. Human life is like a flash of lightning, transient and illusory, gone in a moment.

Honoured practitioners of Zen, please do not grope for the elephant or try to grasp the true dragon. Strive to hit the mark by directly pointing.

Revere the mind that goes beyond study and surpasses all doings. Experience the enlightenment of the buddhas, correctly inheriting the samadhi of the ancestors.

Practice thusness continuously, and you will be thus. The treasury will open of itself for you to use as you wish.

Written at the Kannondori Monastery on the fifteenth day, the midyear [seventh month], the first year of the Tempuku Era [1233].