Zazen Uchiyama Style circa 1966
Yet it is impossible to sleep for five days. Your eyes open even though you may not want them to, and you must come face to face with yourself. For the first time, I came to know real zazen, in which people must be led with true kindness.After all, living is neither something that other people can help you do nor something that you can have them do in your place.You are completely on your own. You sit in a state of awareness, straightening your back and confronting that fact. Zazen as practiced at Antai-ji is the true way human beings should live. It is ideal zazen.
Before meals we did not chant the sutras as usual, nor did we perform the ritual of removing the cloth covers around our bowls as is customary at other temples. Still, every part of the day was strictly regulated. The foreigners and other beginners were not yet familiar with the temple routine and were apt to forget that silence was to be observed. Sometimes they were noisy. Had I been in charge, I would have told them to be quiet, but Zen Master Uchiyama and the trainee monks pretended not to notice. Later, Zen Master Uchiyama explained, “Not saying anything at such times is also part of one’s spiritual practice.You are tempted to say ‘Be quiet!” but should you do so, that would be the end of it. People would merely be obsessed with being quiet. If zazen is truly practiced, it naturally happens that no sounds are made. Until this comes about, you must guide people kindly in their zazen.”