Zen and bathing

I personally find that I do my best Zazen after bathing, for then I am freshest, but this is not absolutely essential. In Sojiji it was not possible for priests, in their junior years, to have a bath more often than once every five days, according to the rules, but still they must do their Zazen every day. Since I was a woman and, during my junior years the women’s bathroom had not yet been built, I frequently had to do without a bath for as long as two months which has proved to me that, although personal freshness is a definite aid to meditation, it is not absolutely essential.


The above is from a great book, now out of print (I picked it up on Amazon’s used service) called “Zen is Eternal Life”, by Roshi P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett. I really like this book. It harkens back to a simpler time, when Zen what was they did in Japanese Zen temples, but it still covers interesting topics such as the relationship between Zen and Gautamistic Buddhism. The last half of the book contains her own translations of several Zen classics including lots of Dogen. Of course I can and do quibble about the translation but that’s just me being picky.

I also picked up a new Zen book called “The Path of the Human Being” by Dennis Genpo Merzel. Genpo Roshi is a great teacher, but his book is just so earnest and boring and devoid of any fun or spirit or insight.

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