Yoshizen's Blog

Zen in Daily-Life

Don’t mistake this title as “Twisting leg everyday”.

Zen is to do something in a Selfless state of the mind. Twisting and sitting (supposedly while

meditating) is a mere practice to gain this Selfless (Mushin) state. —– Though, we are not

born for sitting but to do something to have active life, otherwise we have had extinct long

ago with starvation. So, even Eating in Selfless (ie; in Mushin, and in complete commitment

ie; Mindfulness) IS the Zen.   = This is the realization of what

Lord Buddha taught us = Anatman / Selflessness.


To DO Selfless mean, DO IT without connecting the matter to the Emotion. = This is a state

of so-called Detachment. —– Everybody ever attempted to learn Zen, must heard the words

such as Mushin or Detachment, though, very few had been instructed how to learn it.

(Because in most of the case, their instructor had only an experience to have sat somewhere

in a temple, that all. Still, he is thinking that he had learned Zen.

So, teaching the same sitting  (and only sitting)  to others. 🙂


The trouble of learning Zen by sitting is, even if the person (luckily) able to manage vacating

his mind while sitting, to keep this state of mind (whil doing other than sitting) is almost

impossible.   Because the mind had been accustomed to “Sitting and Do nothing” and make

empty Brain.   Therefore, TO DO anything else, the Brain and the Thinking will come back.

—– Naturally, to learn Zen in the ordinary situation, in a daily life is far better, as the person

can apply the same method and the state of the mind to DO another  “Thing”  as well.


Such as to make a cup of tea. (In this purpose, DON’T take short-cut = make a tea from loose 

tea-leaf —– (this has the same concept as how “Tea making as a Zen practice” developed.)

The way I make a tea is :

Put a water to a kettle and shake it to wash inside and drain it. Put a water again to the

exactly the same level.   Switch on and wait it boils.   When the water started to boil,

switch-off (don’t wait automatic switch-off).   Pour the hot water (about half cup) into a

teapot where a tea-strainer and a tea-spoon is in.  (To heat-up them all together.)

Then take the spoon and tea-strainer out and make the spoon to dry.   Throw the hot water

from the teapot.   Then, put a spoon-full or two (according to the taste) loose-tea leaf into

the pot (heated spoon takes no condensation of the steam from the warmed tea-pot, hence

no tea lief would stick on it.)   Then pour the hot water to tea-pot.   Wait two minutes then

serve a tea. Put sugar or milk when I want.

(In fact, when I pour a tea to the cup, I add the (still) hot water from the kettle for next cup.

(I’m a chain tea drinker, anyhow.)   (Hot water was not as hot as before though, tea would be

brewed longer in the pot = it prevent the tea become too strong !

— Second cup doesn’t have fresh flavour though.)


—– The process may seems too much details.   But they are all for a sake of good tea-making,

and to concentrate for this purpose IS the Mindfulness.

By doing the whole process always the same as THE Accustomed Form.

—– If you follow this, soon or later, you will gain the Formalized body movement and

gradually able to refine the details.   And soon or later you must be realized that you are

DOING all the process Just as a routine = without thinking and the process seemed to be

carried-out almost automatic.   It goes almost independent from YOU —– (As you know,

Do the same, again and again, you start to Do it without excitement, interest = No Emotion ! )

= Now the tea is ready for you to enjoy.   And it was made without your thinking (in Mushin)

and Detached from your Emotion, in other words, Without the  Conscious SELF

= You were in Selflessness.

Do anything in a part of daily-life in the same approach = DO only what you ARE doing

= Mindful Concentration to the only subject.   (nothing else in your mind)

And DO what that subject demand, in your best.  = This is the ZEN in the daily-life.


= As you did the things, as good as you could, it’s mean “You may do better next time though,

what you have Done WAS the best on That moment = no regret.   (Regret can not change the

past, because the past has gone and the matter to DO better would be on the next time.)

= So, you can live the day without useless regret.   (You only can live, on its moment !)


Key point is,

(1) Take it as if it is a Formalized procedure, hence you only Do it as if an imperative form.

(2) No short-cut and Do the best. (3) Establish your way and stick to it. (Stick to it though,

“Do the best”  has priority = the way to Do should evolve to even better on the process.)

(In fact, Mushin or Selflessness is mere By-product of this process = Forget them and just Do

what you got to DO = The matter is, you to DO it and only the result count.)

—– So, enjoy your Tea.      (While having the tea, think about, when you live in this manner

down to all the detail of the life, from the way to get-up from the bed – – – – – each frame of

picture to picture, you did your best = in total you had the best satisfying day, and next day too,

so does next year = in total, you have satisfying LIFE.  

As you been doing the best, others will know you are the most reliable consistent best,

because you are the Zennist.      What you wish more on your LIFE.

—– (without able to make satisfying tea, able to have satisfying day, you are far behind

of even start to talk about Zen,  let alone Enlightenment.    

But when you achieved to make a good tea, and had satisfying day, year, life = then,

you don’t need to have any Enlightenment on top of your life, since you already had one.

—– Life has full of funny paradox.  😀


This was the reason why, when the Zen Masters found their Enlightenment,

all uttered “It’s a dog shit” = after all, all of us walking completely in Selfless Mushin

= nobody need to think how to move the legs.   We were born, able to live Selflessly

= So, it was explained as “We are born possessing the Dharma” which enabling us

to Live without relying on to the Self.    In fact, The Conscious of SELF is obstructing us 

to Live Selflessly.  —– When the Master discovered  this,  after spent years of practice,

he was annoyed to feel ( as the years had been wasted,)  hence    “What a dog shit”  😀



Being Natural or Be Artful Perfection — Which is Zen ?

Mug cup-A09A1703

—— Left Mug is the one I’m using now.  Right is the one I brought from Japan 33 years ago

and served me till 1992 and since it got hole on the bottom, it became a pen stand  🙂

Once, my tea drinking was a kind of Art = as I’ve been drinking 1.5 ~ 2 liters

(3 ~ 4 pints) of tea everyday, to make it, was not just a daily routine, it was

a refined flow of the action.

To begin with, the way to put a water into a kettle ~ ~ ~ to pour the tea into a cup then

drop one or two slices of the lemon etc etc.

As all the actions has been repeated everyday (I don’t know how many thousands times

I did ) naturally each action has been rationalized to the most efficient smooth manner.

So that, once a person who observed this process summed up, “It’s formalized to the

almost tea ceremony like process isn’t it”. Of cause, it was not intended to be a ceremony

but just doing it in quickest and smoothest way. As it is always the same action, it has

no dither or need any thinking, let alone any emotion.

May be this is the way what Master Dogen (道元 / Founder of the Soto-Zen)

has taught = to become perfect to be “who I am and what I’m doing”.

(= Nobody else.  Nothing else = this is what Mindfulness meant !)


Sound so far so good isn’t it ?   But wait a moment —– ?

To be “WHO I am” = the very one who has been born under own Karma, hence grown-up

according to the occurrences given next by next.

The result is the only one, “me” = To be my own is nothing but to be Natural

(but not necessary perfect), still, “to be perfect” mean the person has to be

refined to be pure = eliminate all the imperfection and the foreign substance

(imported idea or pretense).

This is quite an artful existence isn’t it ? ? ?


Making and drinking my tea, I’ve refined its process to the art level though, one-day in

the last Summer, I couldn’t bother to make a tea as I was too thirsty, instead

I just filled my cup with a tap-water and a slice of lemon. ————

Since then, I stop to make a tea but just drink a tap-water. (I don’t buy any bottled drink).

—- Am I lost an art and the mindfulness, while becoming lazy ?

OR, was that an Enlightenment ? —– Good, good question 🙂

To drink a water instead of tea —– It is obvious, which is simpler and natural.


Tea-making started in the Rinzai Zen temple as Master Yousai (栄西) brought it from China.

Hence, Tea-making is a part of Zen teachings. In comparison, Soto Zen tend to remain much

humble and simple. ( = So that, I’m a simple poor man 😀 )

Therefore, isn’t it to drink water instead of Tea, is more Soto Zen ?

Not lazy isn’t it ?


My answer is = I don’t care. As long as something to sip in the cup, it’s enough.

(with its consequence to drink 2 litres of water and going to a toilet every 2 hours =

flushing out any toxins in the body = no need to have doctor or any medicine

—– it may be true :-))

As I don’t need to bother buying tea any more, this is even more peaceful Life and the Mind.

(and cost less 😀 ) —– After all, I don’t think I was born for tea making.

This is my Zen as I’m nobody else of simple yoshizen 😀


In fact, here lies very interesting question.

The ideal early Buddhists were the one who forsaken all the ordinary life to

pursuit Enlightenment, namely Bhikku and Arakhan though, the Buddhism

took the direction to more inclusive Mahayana = while living in the ordinary

life, still maintaining the Mind-set to be a Buddhist = more Natural life style.

My position is, the matter is not a superficial life style but the Mind-set since

the  Mind-set such as Mushin, Ichijo, Mindfulness , Selflessness are naturally

in our subconsciousness, in other words Natural Life-style is not a hindrance

to achieve its refinement, ultimately to reach Enlightenment.

(By the way, me doing something utterly useless, is for fun = Do something on

the hand and creating something new with good laugh is better than just

being passive, such as watching TV or Inter-netting.  😀 )



Perfect Circle

One of the Zen priest in Japan was well known to draw near perfect circle free hand.

—- Just to make a tea, tea master spend 10, 20 years, even all his life

perfecting its procedure down to the minute details.

—- In Internet, you may find rather peculiar  site to make a perfect

sphere of mud ball.     < google  to    dorodango   >

——— ?      What is the point to draw perfect circle, or to make perfect

mud ball, or perfect tea ?

To achieve perfection is the Buddhism.     It is the way to reach  Nirvana.


To practice this path-way  by doing utterly useless, repeating action is

the Zen practice.  (sitting is one of the popular method )

Because of its useless, valuelessness, it is free from any greed

and vain arrogance.

And as it is purposeless, it is no use anything other than for Zen.

Useless, purposeless act couldn’t nest any idea or thought of ego or greed,

therefore it is a very effective way  to empty the mind and achieve Selflessness.


Many years of practice in selfless,  Zatsunen-less concentration and perfecting

a dairy subjects on the front one by one, will lead to the perfection of

the life in total.     Thus, ultimately it lead to a peaceful  Nirvana.


When you see an extremely detailed fine carving of Japanese Netsuke,  you

might think  ” It is mare stopper of a string, what is such an over quality for ? ”


What you are seeing is just a by-product.

By making it, the craftsman achieved his perfection and achieved his Nirvana.

This is the secrets behind of intricacy of the Japanese Art.

——– ( In reality though, as Japanese society was a tight feudal society,

there was no chance to move up in the social system even for a top craftsman

and little financial reward for even to the best art.

The pride and the spiritual achievement was only the way out for those people )

—– Sound pathetic ?    Wrong again.

Have look.    Even though, it was a by-product of his life, a beautiful  Netsuke

is still appreciated by people even hundred of years after his death.

His signature art achieved the eternal life.

This is not a belief or rhetoric, this is a fact.

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