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 [Book Reviews]


Zen Simply Sitting

Philippe Coupey

Philippe Coupey
— image of unknown origin, permission to reproduce is by this requested.

A small book which is a commentary on the Fukanazazengipdf [Universal Guide on the Correct Practice of Zazen] by Master Dogen.

The message is essentially: "The Way is fundamentally perfect. It penetrates everything. How could it depend on practice and realization. The Dharma vehicle is free and unhindered. What need can there be for the concentrated efforts of men? In truth, the Great Body is well beyond the dust of the world. Who could think it possible to clean it? It is never separarte from anyone; it is always exactly where you are. Why go here or there to practice?"

The view is not confined to Zen or Mahayana schools. It is based on a real perception and is a problem similar to the one of understanding how although there is no thing there that can be called a self, there is no saying that there is no self.
Considered to be one of the more pernicious views in that it conduces to lack of striving ... um ... the concentrated efforts of men.

Philippe and I are contemporaries but we have never met. We lived in New York at the same time and traveled in the same circles and apparently looked alike. At one point I became somewhat notorious by proxy after a party in which I heard Philippe took off all his clothes and danced on a table (not that I was not just as capable of such a sort of madness). He has spent his life since that time pursuing Buddhism as have I. He has, by his practice, gained one thing which I envy: by his belief that all that was necessary for enlightenment was to get the sitting posture correctly, he has gained a good upright posture. Otherwise a life, no, an entire liniage from the sixth Patriarch on, that could have been spared a waste of time by reading SN 5.54.12: Clearing up An Uncertainty

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