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Buddhadharma : Spring 2011
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 11 26 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly of care given to placing the pairs of sandals—from lined up neatly to full-blown disorder—the degree to which zazen had entered the students’ consciousness. He believed that as the practice of zazen became a greater part of the students’ aware- ness, they would realize that the sandals were not lined up and would fix them. He wanted the awareness to come from the zazen practice, not from being admonished by an authority figure, such as a high-ranking monk. Uchiyama felt the same way about practicing in the zendo. He didn’t believe in using the kyosaku (encouragement stick) to wake up dozing meditators or correct the posture of slack- ing sitters. He said you would wake up naturally because you can’t sleep in that position for the fourteen hours a day of intensive meditation during sesshin, and eventually you would see that dozing and relaxing your posture were more painful in the long run. He wanted us to learn whatever there was to learn directly from the practice of zazen. Uchiyama’s unique approach to teaching Zen was some- thing very rare in a country as steeped in formalism as Japan. His teaching was a breath of fresh air to monks and layper- sons alike. The following is my translation of two chapters on medi- tation from Advice From Zen, a book of Uchiyama Roshi’s responses to students’ questions, transcribed and edited by one of his chief disciples, Rev. Shusoku Kashiya. The book was written for a Japanese audience, and, except for these chapters, has not been translated into English. In translat- ing the text, I have followed Uchiyama’s advice as he talked about his own translations of Dogen’s writings. Rather than attempt a literal rendering, I have translated it according to my understanding of his words and the meaning behind those words. I tried to make use of my years of listening to Roshi’s teachings and the many questions I asked him myself when I trained at Antaiji in the seventies. (Above) Antaiji buildings and grounds. (Right) Uchiyama Roshi at age eighty-six, one month before he died. (photobottom):photographerunknown,(phototop):oviduman